Telugu language literature is 3500 years old . Though ambiguity exists in this regard, it might be even older than or even contemporary to the professed South Indian ancient languages. Archaeological work regarding its antiquity has been restrained because of poor funding to such authorities. Though there abooks like Gadha Sapta Shati dated back to 100 A.D. Poetry from the language covers spiritual, mythological and secular writings. Earliest available poetry was found on the Epigraphs and Victory Inscriptions. Lack of Available Ancient literature despite language being quite old is attributed to, Little support language received from the pre 1000 A.D. rulers. During the period of Patronage of Eastern Chalukya rulers in 1000 A.D language attained its present script, rich vocabulary and grammar rules. This standardization led to development in the quantity and quality of Literature of Telugu Language which was predominantly composed of poetry. This phase of development reached its zenith under the rule of Sri Krishna Deva Raya of Vijayanagara Empire. Modern Telugu poetry has seen English translitrations. Sri Riasat Ali Taj (1930-1999) a prominent personality, poet, author, critic, writer, educationist, linguist & translator from Karimnager has made poetic translations (Manzoom Tarjuma in Urdu Rubaiyaat) published in popular Urdu magazines and news papers in early 1950s.
Pandu This era saw the beginning of the Translation of Epic Mahabharata into Telugu by three great scholars Nannayya, Tikkana and Errana. These three scholars were reverently called as Kavitrayam (trinity of poets). They completed the great epic in three parts by adopting styles and setting standards and thereby paving way for the future writers. However, despite the best efforts of the scholars of this era Telugu language used in the poetry included various words imported from Sanskrit and was thus out of reach of the common man.
Pre Prabandha era
This includes various poets like Nanne Choda and Somanadha who concentrated on using more native words and styles like Dwipada to reach common man. Srinadha famous for his famous work Sringara Naishadam, Kasikhandam and Bhimakhandam. This era also saw most widely quoted Telugu poet Potana and his popular master piece Srimad Bhagavatam. Folk style rendering of poems was also initiated by Annamayya during this period.
This era includes writers like Allasani Peddana, Tenali Ramalinga Kavi, Dhurjati. It is considered as the Golden Age for Telugu literature. Telugu Language received patronage of Vijayanagara Empire. Most of the Masterpieces of Telugu Literature like Manu Charitra, Panduranga Mahatyam are written in this era.
Post Prabandha period
This era indicates degeneration of Literature standards. Poets struggled for patronage and concentrated on styles like chitra kavitvam and composing of erotic literature to please their patrons. Some patrons tried to preserve the traditions but on the whole it was a Dark age. However at the end of this period some light was seen at the end of tunnel in the form of Tirupati Venkata Kavulu, who started a new style of poetry Avadhanam and wrote Krishna Rayabaram and Devi Bhagavatam.
This can be safely to be started with Gurajada Apparao, who changed the face of Telugu poetry with his revolutionary Muthayala Saralu only to be perfected by later writers in the Romanticism era Notably Rayaprolu and Devulapalli Krishna Sastri. Gurajada's attempt to reform Telugu poetry by shedding old rules and styles reached a zenith with Sri Sri. SriSri's famous work "Maha Prastanam" is an instant hit with every corners of society. Many writers followed his style and continue to enrich the literature.
Paryavaran Kavitodyamam started as movement in the year 2008. The main aim of this movement is to bring awareness and concern among not only elite class but also masses about Environment through creative forms of literature. This is started by Jagruthi Kiran Foundation under the leadership of Narayanam Narasimha Murthy popularly known as "Vidyavachaspati" Prof Dr N N Murthy. This movement is going on with literary activities Harita Kavita, Harita Kata and many other activities. Lot of literature has been produced by various poets, writers on Environment. Magazines like Malle Teega, Kadhakeli are associated with Jagruthi Kiran Foundation in this movement. More than 500 poets, writers are involved in this movement.
While the main stream poetry based on Rhythm, Meter is growing up Telugu literature also saw a rise in the folk-poetry. Most famous were Satakam, Dwipada and Padalu. These were mainly used by Bhakti Reformers to reach the common man and spread their ideas. Some notable writers are Annamayya, Vemana, Ramadasu and Somanadha. Tyagaraja's Kritis and Muvva gopala Padalu cannot be missed in this list. Tyagaraja Kriti's are considered most important compositions in Carnatic Music.
Some famous satakams are listed below.
- Vemana Satakam
- Sumathi Satakam
- Sri Kalahastiswara Satakam
- Dasarathi Satakam
- Bhaskara Satakam
- Kumara Satakam
- Narasimha Satakam
- Sarveswara Satakam
- Kumara Satakam
- Kumari Satakam
- Andhra Nayaka Satakam
- Sri Kishna Satakam
- Bharthruhari Neethi Satakam
- Bharthruhari Vyragya Satakam
- Bharthruhari Srungara Satakam
- Daksharama Bhimeswara Sathakam
- Ismail Award
- Given every Year for the first book of the poet, established in 2005.
- CP Brown Award
- Given Every year for Translations and the people who has worked for Telugu literary activities