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Poets Of Maharashtra

Marathi poetry is one of the branches of Indian literature. Marathi is one of India’s official languages. Dnyaneshwar and Namdev are iconic poet-saints belonging to Maharashtra in India. They are credited to have written ancient religious poetry in beautiful Marathi language. Their religious poetry had far-reaching impact on the masses and audiences of that time. While Namdev was born in 1270, Dyaneshwar was born in 1275.

Namdev has written more than 400 poetical verses belonging to the Abhang from. On the other hand, Dnyaneshwar used the Owi form to compose majority of his poetry. His compositions, Amrutanubhawa and Dyaneshwari consist of about 800 and 9,037 owis respectively.

Eknath was another of iconic Marathi poet who was born in the year 1533 and breathed his last in 1599. He was a prominent and a highly respect poet. Some other highly renowned Marathi poets belonging to the 17th century include Ramdas, Tukaram, Vaman Pandit, Mukteshwar, Shridhar Pandit and Raghunath Pandit.

Moropant was yet another acclaimed Marathi poet belonging to the 18th century. He composed the Aryabharata, which was the first ever epic written in Marathi.

19th Century Marathi Poets

Marathi poetry composed in the early years of 19th century comprised phataka, powada and lawani which were primarily composed by Shahir or Tantakawi. Well-known poets from this period included Honaji Bal, Parasharam, Ram Joshi, Anantphandi and Prabhakar. The literary work of prominent mid 19th century poets like Kunte, Krushnshastri Chipalunkar, Lembhe and even Mogare drew influences for their poetry from English as well as Sanskrit poetry.

In the later years of 19th century, Rev Tilak and Keshavasuta composed poems that were heavily inspired by acclaimed English poems like Tennyson and Wordsworth. They were responsible for expanding the horizon of blooming Marathi poetry and included various domains like romance, love, nature’s beauty and even mysticism as the primary subjects for poetry. Some other prominent poets from the 19th century included Bhalchandra Nemade, Mangesh Padgaonkar, Dilip Chitre, Arun Kolatkar, Vasant Abaji Dahake, Namdeo Dhasal and Manohar Oak.

20th Century Marathi Poets

A wave of modernism ushered in Marathi literature and Marathi poetry when Mahatma Jyotiba Phule started composing literary works. In the years to follow, several poets like Govindagraj, Balakavi, Keshavsuta as well as poets belonging to Ravi Kiran Mandal, like the popular Madhav Julian, started writing poetry that was inspired by Victorian and Romantic English poetry. Their poetical works were mainly lyrical and sentimental. Prahlad Keshav Atre was a prominent politician and a satirist. He composed a parody of the romantic poetry and included it in his famous collection, Jhenduchi Phule.

A key shift in sensibilities started in the early 1940s with modernist, avant-garde poetry composed by BS Mardhekar. During the mid-1950s, Little Magazine Movement started gaining a lot of momentum. Under this movement, several writings were published which were essentially non-conformist, experimental and radical. It also consolidated the Dalit literary movement. Several poets from the ‘little magazine movement’ gained prominence during this time.

A paradigm shift in Marathi sensibilities started in the 1990s following stark disapproval of Shridhar Tilve. Shridhar Tilve described how the generation after 1960s was severely outdated. He criticized this generation in his write-up ‘Chauta Shodh’. Tilve’s first ever poems’ collection was published in 1991 by Popular Prakashan.

Under New Little Magazine Movement, several Marathi poets became popular like Manya Joshi, Sachin Ketkar, Hemant Divate, Saleel Wagh, Mangesh Narayanrao Kale, Nitin Kulkarni, Mohan Borse, Nitin Arun Kulkarni, Sandeep Deshpande, Varjesh Solanki, Nitin Wagh, Prafull Shiledar and Dnyanda.

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