Vallathol Narayana Menon was a poet in the Malayalam language, which is spoken in the south Indian state of Kerala. He was one of the triumvirate poets of modern Malayalam, along with Kumaran Asan and Ulloor S. Parameswara Iyer. The honorific Mahakavi was applied to him in 1913 after the publication of his Mahakavya Chitrayogam. He was a nationalist poet and wrote a series of poems on various aspects of the Indian freedom movement. He also wrote against caste restriction, tyrannies and orthodoxies. He founded the Kerala Kalamandalam and is credited with revitalising the traditional Keralite dance form known as Kathakali.Early lifeVallathol was born in Chenara, near Ponnani, in Malappuram District, Kerala, as the son of Kadungotte Mallisseri Damodaran Elayathu and Kuttipparu Amma. He did not receive any formal education but was trained in Sanskrit language, first under the Sanskrit scholar Variyam Parambil Kunjan Nair and then under his own uncle Ramunni Menon, who introduced him into the world of Sanskrit poetry. Ramunni Menon also taught him Ashtanga Hridayam, a medical treatise, and young Narayana Menon soon began helping his uncle in medical practice and teaching. He also trained for an year under Parakkulam Subrahmanya Sastri and Kaikkulangara Rama Variar in Philosophy and Logic. He married Vanneri Chittazhiveettil Madhavi Amma in November 1901 and shifted to Thrissur, the cultural capital of Kerala. He worked as manager in the Kalpadrumam Press in Thrissur from 1905 to 1910. During this period, his hearing began to deteriorate. From 1915, he started working in Keralodayam newspaper and later joined Atma Poshini, a journal published from Thrissur.