The Naneelu, also called the Naani, also called the Nali, is a form of Telegu poetry introduced by Sahitya Akademi Award winner Professor N. Gopi in 2002 in his book Naneelu: The Little Ones.


In his own words:

“Naneelu are short poems, not very short though. Everyone of them is neither needlessly compact nor unduly concise in thought, nor of loose formation, yet its structure shaped in my mind to a length comprising 20-25 letters. So much so, they never have less than 20 and never exceed 25 letters. Naneelu belong to you and to me – ‘na’ and ‘nee‘ mean in Telugu ‘my’ and ‘your’ respectively, and the end ‘lu’ indicative of the plural number of the poems – in short, they belong to all of us.” Little later elaborating on the structure of his epigrams he said: “If one were to pause at the end of the second line, the executed meaning is incomplete. At the same time, the first is not clear unless one reads the second part. That means though appearing as identical in structure and as two sentences, the poem reaches completion only when united in thought.”

  • So to summarize, 4 line stanzas, 20-25 syllables per stanza, as shown in examples of Dr. Gopi, and the entire stanza is one idea which would be considered and read as incomplete if only presented partially, although they can be and often are two distinct sentences per stanza.
  • As they were intended for a language different from English, it is understood that by letters he means syllables.
  • thematically, an idea presented in two couplets, with the first couplet introducing the idea and the second couplet supports that idea, although there doesn’t need to be a division such as a caesura or whatnot between the two couplets. As said in another article: “the second throws light on the first through a pointed allusion through a metaphor, simile or personification.”
  • Example from Dr. Gopi:
    • Grieve not
      for the broken earthen pot.
      The earth is preparing
      to shape anew.


I will say that I was coming up empty until the umpteenth page of google threw out Michelle Kogan’s blog post which led me to Tanita S. Davis‘s blog post which led to the wikipedia entry which made me realize that Naani, the term that was originally Brough to my attention, is a short for the actual name of the form Naneelu. So there you go (most other sources I found on this form copy and pasted one source which was, I found out [and suspected], incomplete in its description of the form and straight up misunderstood parts of it, which is why I perseverated about finding as direct a source from Dr. Gopi as I could.)

Related Posts