Sreedharanunni penned his first poem five decades ago. His sister was quick to spot the poetic sensibility innate in the boy. Over the years, nurtured by guidance of the literary masters of the day, Sreedharanunni’s poetic talents bloomed.

His poems have won critical acclaim and coveted awards. These have ensured him a place as a major Malayalam poet. Which is why the release of his collection of poems, titled Sreedharanunniyude Kavithakal , on Saturday is viewed as a major literary event.

Fundamental questions about the meaning of human existence, a quest for identity, the many facets of human relationships and the multifarious faces of humanism — these have been philosophical questions that had haunted the poet and found expression in his poems. There are literary critics who believe his concern for issues fundamental to human existence has given him a unique place in the pantheon of Malayalam poetry.

P.M. Narayanan, poet, who has written the foreword to Sreedharanunni’s collection of poems, says, “His poems remain untouched by modernism both in style and content … though in his poems his concern seems to be himself, his self encompasses the whole world and gives the poems an enduring universal appeal.”

Sreedharanunni, born in Kozhikode in 1944, served All India Radio for nearly three decades. He acknowledges the role of Kadavanad Kuttikrishnan and N.N. Kakkad in the evolution of his poetic personality, and is quick to add that he had the good fortune to receive guidance from Malayalam’s literary greats like G. Sankara Kurup, N.V. Krishna Warrier and Vishnunarayanan Namboodiri.

R. Madhavan Nair