Mario Quintana and Poetic Horizons

Harmony Cardenas

Poetry deals with the fundamental questions of human nature. I believe that love and freedom are undoubtedly among the most important. Real poetry is never out of date. Mario Quintana, a Brazilian poet, was sensitive and introspective. His lyric can easily be placed in the tradition of romanticism. Quintana’s poems reflect on existence. He reveals the conflict between freedom and destiny.

To be an authentic work of art, a poem must speak of the metaphysical situation of the human being in the world. Poetry describes reality with force and conciseness. Reading poetry, we can have a unique appreciation of the power of language. It forces us to confront new ideas. It questions our conception of the world. For this reason, poetry gives us a new and vital way of seeing the world and our place in it. In the poetic world of Quintana, the reflection on the passage of time prevails. In fact, this is a constant theme in the lyrical tradition. To our poet, the only true things seem to be those known in childhood. Surely, the poet can reach the lost world of childhood only through remembrance.

Quintana knew how to mix in his poetry, with wisdom and charm, the colloquial and erudite forms of language, also embarking on surrealism, avoiding, however, linguistic inventions, as he always detested easy hermeticism and ambiguity.

A wanderer of the imagination, he lives surrounded by questions, for he knows that we live in a broken world, that is, in a “waste land”. The poet used to say that “no miracle is allowed now… “. The greatest poet is able to record the decisive moments of the human experience. His words give shape to ideas, emotions, values and themes which are characteristics of his age. Paradoxically, he uses the experiences that are common to all mankind. Through imagination, they contribute to the revelation of the “clear enigmas” of existence. In other words, the poet seeks to overcome the conflicts he experiences through artistic creation. Therefore, his words serve as inspiration and comfort. His words are magical because they exude enthusiasm. In the expression of the Italian poet Giacomo Leopardi, poetry “opens the heart and revives it”. This is what we see in Quintana’s poems.

This concern is easily noticeable behind the descriptive features and the apparent simplicity of his style. For there we find transcendental inquiries about human destiny, while the poet seems looking at small things. In this sense, the poet wrote: “the real refinement is in simplicity.”

Clearly the poet, when looking at himself, looks at life. He is always vigilant in the face of everyday life. The poet seeks to catch the moment of infinite present in the experience. Quintana is a magician of the words.

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