He became known as the poet of "simple things", and his style is marked by irony, profundity and technical perfection. The main themes of his poetry include death, the lost childhood and time. Quintana also worked as a journalist and translated into Portuguese innumerable books, such as Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf.
The son of Celso de Oliveira Quintana de Miranda and Virginia, Mário Quintana was born in Alegrete, where he received his early education. After that, he moved to Porto Alegre in 1919 to study at the Military School, and there he published his first works. He started working for Editora Globo, while it was still a state-owned publishing house.
Considered the "poet of simple things" with a style marked by irony, by the depth and technical perfection, he worked as a journalist most of his life. He translated over one hundred and thirty books of world literature, including In Search of Lost Time by Marcel Proust, Virginia Woolf's Mrs. Dalloway, and words and Blood, by Giovanni Papini.
In 1940, he released his first book of poetry, The Windmills Street, beginning his career as a poet, writer and children's author. In the meantime, In 1953, Quintana worked in the newspaper Correio do Povo, as a columnist of a subsection on culture, which was published every Saturday; but in 1977, he left the newspaper. In 1966, he published his Poetics Anthology, with sixty poems, organized by Rubem Braga and Paulo Mendes Campos, and released to commemorate his sixty years of age, and for this reason the poet hailed the Brazilian Academy of Letters by Meyer and Manuel Augusto flag, reciting the poem Quintana, of his own, in honor of fellow gaucho. In the same year he won the Fernando Chinaglia of the Brazilian Union of Writers of best book of the year. In 1976, after turning seventy years old, Quintana was awarded the Medal of Grazing Negrinho the state government of Rio Grande do Sul in 1980 was awarded the Machado de Assis, the GLA, the body of work.
Mario Quintana never married nor had children. Lonely, he lived most of his life in hotels: 1968 to 1980, resided at the Hotel Majestic, in the historic center of Porto Alegre, where it was dumped when the newspaper Correio do Povo temporarily closed its activities, financial problems and Quintana without pay, stopped paying the rent of the room. At the time, the sports commentator and former player of the Brazilian national soccer team Paulo Roberto Falcao gave him a room at the Hotel Royal, of his property. The friend who found a small room, Quintana said, "I live in myself. Never mind that the room is small. It's good, so I have fewer places to lose my stuff."
The poet has tried three times a chair at the Brazilian Academy of Letters, but in none of the occasions he was elected falling short of twenty votes required to qualify for a chair. Even with the promise of unanimity around his name, the poet refused to apply a fourth time. He died in Porto Alegre, aged 87.
- A Rua dos Cataventos, 1940
- Canções, 1946
- Sapato Florido, 1948
- O Aprendiz de Feiticeiro, 1950
- Espelho Mágico, 1951
- Inéditos e Esparsos, 1953
- Poesias, 1962
- Caderno H, 1973
- Apontamentos de História Sobrenatural, 1976
- Quintanares, 1976
- A Vaca e o Hipogrifo, 1977
- Esconderijos do Tempo, 1980
- Baú de Espantos, 1986
- Preparativos de Viagem, 1987
- Da Preguiça como Método de Trabalho, 1987
- Porta Giratória, 1988
- A Cor do Invisível, 1989
- Velório Sem Defunto, 1990
- Água, 2001
- Susana Gonçalves, Markus A. Carpenter Diversity, Intercultural Encounters, and Education 2012 - Page 215 "Obviously, poetry and art are the privileged territories for this game of reversibilities where the ambient opens up, as the Brazilian poet Mário Quintana says, “poetry is not a flight from reality, but a flight to reality.” Only this flight “to reality” ...