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Indian poetry and Indian literature in general, has a long history dating back to Vedic times. They were written in various Indian languages such as Vedic Sanskrit, Classical Sanskrit, Hindi, Oriya, Tamil, Telugu, Kannada, Bengali and Urdu. Poetry in foreign languages such as Persian and English also has a strong influence on Indian poetry. The poetry reflects diverse spiritual traditions within India. In particular, many Indian poets have been inspired by mystical experiences.Poetry is the oldest form of literature and has a rich written and oral tradition.
There are very few literary awards in India for poetry alone. The prestigious awards like Jnanapeeth, Sahitya Akademi and Kalidas Samman etc. are given away to writers of both prose and poetry. Most of the awards have gone to novelists. Few poets have received these awards.
The following poets have won the Jnanpith award for their poetry: Firaq Gorakhpuri for his Gul-e-Naghma (1969), [Kavi Samrat Viswanatha Satyanarayana] for his Ramayana kalpa vruksham in Telugu (1970), Amrita Pritam for her Kagaz te Kanvas (1981), Qurratulain Hyder for her Akhire Sab ke Humsafar Singireddi Narayana Reddi for his Viswambhara in Telugu ((1988)1989) and O. N. V. Kurup for his contribution to Malayalam poetry (2007). Viswanatha Satyanarayana for Sreemadraamaayana Kalpavrukshamu, C. Narayanarerddy for Viswambhara and [Ravuri bhardwaaja] for his novel Paakuduraallu (Telugu) (2012).
Ananda Bazar Patrika have instituted the annual Ananda Puraskar for Bengali literature. There is also Rabindra Puraskar. But these awards have usually gone to novelists. The rare poets to have won these awards include Premendra Mitra for Sagar Theke Phera (1957), Buddhadeb Basu for Swagato Biday (1974), Aruna Mitra for Suddhu Rater Shabda (1979), Joy Goswami for Ghumeichho (1990), Srijato for Uranto Sab Joker (2004) and Pinaki Thakur for Chumbaner Kshato (2012).
Sahitya Akademi gives away annual prizes for both original works of poetry in the recognised Indian languages, as well as outstanding works of translation of Indian poetry. The award winners for English poetry include Jayanta Mahapatra for Relationship (1981), Nissim Ezekiel for Latter-Day Psalms (1983), Keki N. Daruwalla for The Keeper of the Dead (1984), Kamala Das for Collected Poems (1985), Shiv K. Kumar for Trapfalls in the Sky (1987), Dom Moraes for Serendip (1994), A. K. Ramanujan for Collected Poems (1999) and Jeet Thayil for These Errors are Correct (1912). Prominent Akademi awardees for poetry in other Indian languages include H. S. Shivaprakash (Kannada) and K. Satchidanandan (Malayalam). Other eminent Sahitya Akademi award-winning poets include Amrita Pritam (Punjabi) for Sunehe (1956), V. K. Gokak (Kannada) for Divya Prithvi (1960), G. Sankara Kurup (Malayalam) for Viswadarshanam (1963), Kusumagraj (Marathi) for Natsamrat (1974), Kaifi Azmi (Urdu) for Awara Sajde (1975), Sunil Gangopadhyay (Bengali) for Sei Somoy (1984), Kanhaiyalal Sethia (Rajasthani) for Lilatamsa (1984), Hiren Bhattacharyya (Assamese) for Saichor Pathar Manuh (1992), Gunturu Seshendra Sarma (Telugu) for Kaala Rekha (1994), Srinivas Rath (Sanskrit) for Tadaiva Gaganam Shaivadhara (1999) and Pratibha Satpathy (Oriya) for Tanmaya Dhuli (2001).
Eighteen poets have won Sahitya Akademi Awards in Telugu language.
On the occasion of its Golden Jubilee, Sahitya Akademi awarded the following prizes for outstanding works of poetry in translation from Indian languages.
The Poetry Society (India) gives annual awards solely for poetry. The following poets have won the annual prizes instituted by the Poetry Society (India) in collaboration with British Council and Ministry of Human Resource Development (India):
In the 19th century, American Transcendentalist writers and many German Romantic writers became interested in Indian poetry, literature and thought. In the 20th century, few Western poets became interested in Indian thought and literature, and the interest of many of those was minor: T. S. Eliot studied Sanskrit at Harvard, but later lost interest. Buddhism brought Allen Ginsberg and Gary Snyder to India, but they became more interested in Tibetan and Japanese forms of the religion. Mexican poet and writer Octavio Paz developed a strong, lasting interest in Indian poetry after living in the country as part of the Mexican diplomatic mission (and as ambassador in the 1960s). Paz married an Indian woman, translated Sanskrit kavyas, and wrote extensively about India. The Australian poet Colin Dean as listed in the Australian Literature Resource database shows interested in Indian thought and literature and as such has written many poems on Indian themes: Indian mythology; classical Sanskrit plays; Indian philosophy; Indian folktales and translated Sanskrit poetry. Some of these works are:The Caurapâñcâśikâ (The Love-Thief) Of Bilhana; The Amarusataka of Amaru; Shakuntala; The Subhashitasringar; The-Travels-Of-Pandit-Ganja-Deen-The-Sadhaka;The-Twenty-Fifth-Tale-Of-The-Vetala; Rishyasringa; Gitavesya.