Akam Poetry and the Landscapes of Love

Akam poetry is classified as one of the two genres of classical Tamil poetry. Unlike Puram poetry, Akam poetry focuses on the inner self, and love it focuses more on the “interior” Many when thinking of the Akam poetry love is the first aspect that comes to many minds. Akam and Puram poetry could be located at as personal vs. public. With Akam poetry focusing on the realm of personal poetry. Though the two Indian literary writing works can be looked at as different, they can also be looked at as having schemes that correlate both of the different writings together.

Tamil classical poetry is divided into, two different categories, those are Akam and Puram. Akam means “interior” and this genre of poetry deals with the heart, love, self, the interiority of experience, home, family, the private and domestic spheres, and intimate emotions. In Akam poetry there are five interior landscapes, that in some way represent a specific phase of love. The first phase is a lovers union, which normally takes place at night, which then leads onto the second phase which is separation, anxious waiting, and secret meetings. The third phase is hardship that could be described as the lovers journey through a desert. The fourth phase is happiness after marriage and patient waiting in domesticity. The fifth phase is unfaithfulness after marriage that is described in the lowlands.

Akam poetry can perfectly be described as the different love languages that a man and or woman endures throughout their lives in private. Throughout these landscapes a individual character is placed in the appropriate landscape therefore putting a dramatic nuance on the lyric of a particular situation.

The first landscape of Akam poetry is very interesting the poem “What she said” these section really stands out;


Yes his love is always good

as you say, my friend,

but only for those strong enough to bear it,

who will not cry their eyes out

or think of anything of it

when he leaves.

Kapilar (Norton 974)


This section is really describing that stage of love when you’re really starting fall in love with someone otherwise known as the puppy love stage. When you just love the thought of being around someone, and hate to see them leave.


Another great example of Akam poetry is “What she said” this poem is describing basically a man, who is unfaithful, who falls in love with young women, hook-up, and leaves them. This poem could easily leave a woman heartbroken constantly thinking in her head he loves me and or he loves me not. When in all reality the man probably had no plans of staying.

The poem states;

Why is he here now?

And why does he

take those women,

a jangle of gold bangles,

as they make love

Only to leave them. (Norton 981).

Akam poetry

Akam poetry will definitely make the reader think about love and the inner self on another level. The five landscapes take you on the journey of falling in love, marriage, and in some situations falling short to unfaithfulness. The journey of love that most people in the century go through, and deal within their selves, but don’t actually come out and say. Like Akam poetry is described as private money people today in this century keep this feelings that the different landscapes are describing to themselves. Especially when it causes or mentions vulnerability, and or unfaithfulness.

It is amazing how we are still being influenced by Akam and Puram poetry. That these poems are still being told and used today, to describe the five different interior landscapes of oneself. It’s amazing how the landscapes take you on a journey through the private thoughts of an individual each portraying a different aspect. I think Akam poetry is still being taught in literature because the poems are so realistic and relatable. You don’t get bored reading these poems they make you think of the different things that people are going through daily but in a poetic sense. It is easy to feel the emotions that these writing were feeling at the time, and it really does take you on a selfless rollercoaster. I really enjoy reading Akam poetry and I hope you do to and it taught in classes for many years

Works Cited: Pucher, Martin, et al. The Norton Anthology of World Literature: New York, 3rd edition, Vol B. 2012.

Images Citations

Saying Images. “Encouraging and Funny Long-Distance Relationship Memes.” Accessed November 1, 2019

Meme Generator Net. Accessed November 1, 2019

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