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Mário Quintana quotes – Part II – Poetry, Literature

Published by Editor in Mario Quintana
data: 16/12/2020

True verses are not meant to enthrall, but to appall…


-I love the world! I loathe the world! I believe in God! God is absurd! I’ll kill myself! I want to live!

-Are you nuts?

-No, I’m a poet.

 The phrase hurts slightly… And is forgotten…

Nothing will come of it repeated…

Only in loving tones pleases

The same thing one hundred thousand times said.


-You still haven’t read The Meaning of Meaning? No? You’ll never catch up at that rate.

- No, it’s because I’m waiting for The Meaning of Meaning of Meaning to come out.

The Art of Reading

The reader I most admire is the one that hasn’t yet reached the present line. At this moment he has interrupted his reading and is continuing the journey on his own.

The search

Underfed of beauty, my dog-poem sniffs out poetry in everything, for you never know how many treasures have been thrown away these days…

So many star puppies have been swiped out of the trash!

The Letter

When I turned fifteen, my circumspect godfather wrote me a very, very serious letter; it even had a semicolon! I was never so impressed in my life.


If it is forbidden to write on monuments, there should also be a law against writing about Shakespeare and Camões.

Never ask me the subject of a poem: a poem always speaks of something else.

The difference between a poet and a crazy person is that the poet knows he’s crazy… Because poetry is craziness lucid.


Poems, this strange mask more truthful than one’s own face.

If a poet is able to express his unhappiness very happily, how could he ever be unhappy?

Only poetry is of living things. The rest is necropsy.

Poetry is non-delivering to who would define it.

“But what does this poem mean?” the good lady asked me in an unsettled voice.

“And what, pray you, does a cloud mean?” I answered triumphantly.

“A cloud,” she said, “can sometimes mean rain, other times good weather…”

Poetry, a way of talking to yourself.

Poetry is communication … alone.

Forget all the poems ever written. May every poem be numbered one. And why date a poem? Poets that put dates on their poems remind me of chickens marking their eggs…

There’s no sense in interpreting a poem. Poems already are interpretations by themselves.

My life is in my poems. My poems are myself. I never wrote a period that wasn’t a confession.

A satisfied poet doesn’t satisfy. They say I’m shy. None of that! I’m the quiet type, introspective. Don’t know why they subject the introverted to therapy, just because they couldn’t be dull like everyone else.

Travel diary

He was seen by a river,

by a tree,

by a road …


Between the suspicious look of his auntie

And the confident look of the dog

The boy invented poetry…



With emotion

This verse in your heart

A leaf, there,




Verses are a madman singing alone.

His concern is the way. And nothing more!

The way that he invents on his own.

I don’t know how to dance. My way of dancing is poetry.

Books don’t change the world.

It is people who will change the world.

Books only change people.

There are just some things that the occasion never arises to put them sensibly in a conversation – that only in poems fall into place.

Every poem is a castaway bottle thrown to the waters…

Whoever finds it saves himself.

If you have never been born from yourself, painfully, in the conception of a poem… then you are deceived: For poets, there is no childbirth without pain.

The poem is a stone in the abyss.

Notice how the poet humanizes things: throwing hesitation to the leaves and his worries to the wind. Maybe that is how God gives men to their souls.

Every poem is an approximation.

Grab your teacup and read all you want: “A good poem is one that gives us the impression that it is reading us… and not us reading it.”

I’m not ashamed to say that I’m sad, not of this ignominious sadness that, rather than driving us to kill ourselves, makes poetry.

I think I’ll keep a few of these crooked poems for myself that I’ve been trying to straighten out in vain…

Poems are like a crystal ball. If the only thing see on it is your own nose, don’t blame the magician.

And now they ask me to talk about myself. Well! I always thought that every confession not transfigured by art is indecent. My life is in my poems, my poems are myself, and I never wrote a comma that wasn’t a confession. Ah! I see, what they want are details, crudities, gossip…

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  1. Edméia Faria

    Ah! A eterna poesia!
    Os poemas de Quintana, os versos de Quintana…
    a magia…
    A vida em versos. Assim são os poemas de Quintana.

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