From Kazakhstan Encyclopedia
According to Chinese written sources of 6th-8th centuries CE, Turkic tribes of Kazakhstan had oral poetry tradition. Traces of this tradition are shown on stone carvings dated 5th-7th centuries C.E. that describes rule of Kultegin and Bilge, two early Turkic rulers ("kagans").
Book of Dede Korkut and Oguz Name (a story of ancient Turkic king Oghuz Khan) are the most well-known Turkic heroic legends. Initially created around 9th century CE, they were passed on through generations in oral form. The legendary tales were recorded by Turkish authors in 14-16th centuries C.E.
The preeminent role in the development of modern literary Kazakh belongs to Abay Qunanbayuli (or Kunanbayev, Template:Lang-kz) (1845–1904), whose writings did much to preserve Kazakh folk culture. Abay's major work is The Book of Words (Template:Lang-kz), a philosophical treatise and collection of poems where he criticizes Russian colonial policies and encourages other Kazakhs to embrace education and literacy.