Viswanatha Satyanarayana (Telugu: విశ్వనాథ సత్యనారాయణ), popularly known as the Kavi Samraat (Emperor of Poetry), was a modern Telugu poet.
He was a disciple of the Tirupati Venkata Kavulu duo. Viswanatha's style of poetry was classical in nature and his popular works include Ramayana Kalpa Vrukshamu (A resourceful tree called Ramayana), Kinnersani patalu (Mermaid songs) and Veyipadagalu (The Thousand Hoods).
He was awarded the Jnanpith Award and Padma Bhushan in 1970.
The parallel "free-verse" movement in easy prose of Telugu literature criticized him as a bigot who hung onto the strict rules of prosody such as Yati, Prasa (rhyme) and Chandassu (meter). A book with his memories compiled has been released.
Satyanarayana was born to Sobhanadri and Parvati Devi, an affluent Velanadu Vaidiki Brahmin family. He had an elder sister and two younger brothers.
His father was a philanthropist and a devotee of Lord Shiva. In 1902, he brought an idol of Siva Linga from Benares and built a temple dedicated to Lord Siva in Nandamuru. Thus, Lord Sri Visweswara became their family Deity.
After his schooling in the village, Satyanarayana had his early education at the National College, Machilipatnam. He obtained the masters degree in Sanskrit from the University of Madras in 1929. During his stay at Machilipatam, he came under the influence of Chellapilla Venkata Sastry, Pingali Lakshmikantam, Kota Venkata Chelam and Katuri Venkateswara Rao.
He began writing at the age of 14.
Satyanarayana taught in various colleges in Guntur, Vijayawada, Machilipatnam and Karimnagar. In 1961, he retired as principal of Government College in Karimnagar and devoted his time wholly to writing. Even while working as a teacher, he used to engage himself in creative writing of a very serious nature.
Viswanatha's literary works includes 30 poems, 20 plays, 60 novels, 10 critical estimates, 200 Khand kavyas, 35 short stories, three playlets, 70 essays, 50 radio plays, 10 essays in English, 10 works is Sanskrit, three translations, 100 introductions and forewords as well as radio talks. Some of his poems and novels have been translated into English, Hindi, Tamil, Malayalam, Urdu and Sanskrit.
Veyipadagalu was later translated into Hindi by former Prime Minister PV Narasimha Rao as Sahasraphan.
Awards and Recognitions
Kala Prapoorna by Andhra University
Jnanpith award by Government of India. He is one of only two Telugu persons who have received that award, the other being C. Narayanareddy