Kannada poetry is poetry written in the Kannada language spoken in Karnataka. Karnataka is the land that gave birth to eight Jnanapeeth award winners,
the highest honour bestowed for Indian literature. From the period of Adikavi Pampa, who proclaimed his wish to be reborn as a little bee in the land of
Kannada, Kannada poetry has come a long way to Kuvempu and Dattatreya Ramachandra Bendre.
Puttappa ( Kuvempu )
( 1904 - 1994 ), Born in
Hirekodige, Koppa taluk,
Dattatreya Ramachandra Bendre
( Ambikatanayadatta )
( 1896 - 1981 ),
Born in Dharwad,
B M Srikanthaiah
( 1884 - 1946 )
Born in Turuvekere,
Kota Shivaram Karanth
( 1902–1997 )
Born in Saligrama,
Pre History :
Kannada poetry has been traced back to around 5th century A.D, though none of those early works have been found. The earliest extant poetry in tripadi meter
are the Kappe Arabhatta records of 700 C.E. The first well known Kannada poet was Adikavi Pampa who wrote in an archaic style of Kannada called
Halegannada (literally "Old Kannada"). His Vikramarjuna Vijaya is hailed as a classic even to this day. With this and his other important work Adipurana he set a
trend of poetic excellence for the Kannada poets of the future.
Kannada poetry called vachanas, were pithy comments on that period's social, religious and economic conditions. More importantly, they hold a mirror to the
seed of a social revolution, which caused a radical re-examination of the ideas of caste, creed and religion. One of the important ideas coming out of this
revolution was the view that Work is worship and a path to spirituality.
Kannada poets have the unique distinction of sowing the seeds of one of the richest forms of classical music: South Indian Carnatic music. The Dasas or saints,
around 15th century, sang the glory of God through poems.
Navodaya literally means a new birth. This indeed was the reincarnation of Kannada poetry which was dormant for quite a few centuries in the face of British
occupation of India. This period saw greats like Srikanthaiah, Kuvempu, Bendre, Shivaram Karanth writing poetry. This genre was highly influenced by Romantic
English poetry. It was B. M. Srikanthaiah who started this movement of sorts with his translation of a few critically acclaimed English poems of the Romantic
period. Many educated Kannadigas, especially those were in the teaching profession, realised that they need to express themselves in their mother tongue and
started writing poetry in Kannada.
Kuvempu is a case in point who was convinced by his professor (of British origin) that he should write in his mother tongue. Kuvempu went on to become a
Rashtrakavi (national poet). His love of nature, realisation of the greatness of man's spirit and the vision to see the blend of nature and God made him more
than Kannada's Wordsworth. Another interesting case is that of Shivaram Karanth who was a man of great intellect, rock-solid convictions and a profound social
sense. He was the Leonardo da Vinci of Karnataka.123.
Kannada poetry has won eight Jnanapeeth awards, the highest for any other Indian language.