literary park / Parco Letterario

Mary Oliver, Hobe Sound 

reading hobe sound

FAU Italian Program created the first literary park in the United States, connected to the Italian Network of Literary Parks (Rete dei Parchi Letterari), dedicated to the poet Mary Oliver (1935-2019) and located in Hobe Sound, on  the Atlantic coast of Florida. Visit the official page in the Rete.

Pulitzer Prize for Poetry in 1984, Oliver spent the last years of her life in Hobe Sound accompanied by the affection of the American public of readers and even non-readers (her verses appear framed on walls or embroidered on pillows). The first translation of her collection has been published by Einaudi right after the launch of the Literary Park.

This cutting-edge digital project, available both in English and in Italian, uses Googlearth to explore Hobe Sound and at the same time to map its geometaphors. Inspired by Prof. Ilaria Serra's research on the literary "geometaphor," it is an outcome of her graduate class "Poetic Geography of Italy."

The project is unique and interactive: Googlearth features help the visitors move through roads and beaches, creating the feeling of being there.

The project's most striking feature is the digital art by Dr. Topher Maraffi, Professor of Media Arts, Design and Technology in the College of Design at North Carolina State University. In the slides titled "Poetic Geography," Oliver's verses are digitally superimposed on elements of the territory. In this way, the real landscape opens glimpses on the poetic landscape visible through the "double gaze" which, according to Giacomo Leopardi, belongs to the poets. 

Visitors can find these slides in the map's context (with Slideshow) or take a shortcut: slides 4 (Trees as Geometaphor), slide 5 (Geometaphors in Zeus Park), slide 7 (Geometaphor of the house door); slide 12 (Geometphor of the Waves); slide 14 (Walking Path Geometaphor), slide 16 (Ocean Birds Geometaphor) and slide 26 (Churchyard Geometaphor).

Since March 21, 2023, the FAU Italian Program of Florida Atlantic University has participated in the activities of the Italian Network of Literary Parks with a day-trip to Hobe Sound and beach poetry readings.  

Access the Mary Oliver Literary Park in Hobe Sound in English

Access Il Parco Letterario Mary Oliver a Hobe Sound in Italiano