Mark Baumer Remembered At Granoff

(2.4) Last month, writer, librarian, and environmental activist Mark Baumer was struck and killed by an S.U.V. as he walked along the shoulder of a highway in Florida. This was day 100 of his barefoot walk across America, a one-man campaign to raise awareness of climate change and access to clean water. Anna Heyward writes for the New Yorker,

Baumer had become an Internet cult figure in recent years, though his following never matched his prolific output. He grew up in Durham, Maine, an athlete and a straight-edge kid on the punk scene. After graduating from Wheaton College, he earned an M.F.A. in fiction from Brown. In recent years, he had been a workers’-union steward and a librarian, and he taught a fiction class at Brown, in 2011, that the students found polarizing, in part because of his encouragement of what he called “the art of subtle weirdness.” Before beginning his latest trek, he won a poetry fellowship from the Rhode Island State Council for the Arts.

Mark was always posting observations, photos, videos, random thoughts and couplets, on multiple social media platforms (links to which can be found at his blog thebaumer.com). I love his eclectic reading list which includes Thoreau, David Foster Wallace, and Joseph Campbell — the sort of writers one might expect — but also voices from the popular culture like Mindy Kaling, Aziz Ansari, and John Waters, as well as the Marie Kondo ‘Tidying Up’ book of all things. (One would not think that clutter was a problem for someone who does not pack shoes for a cross-country walk.) I think I may pick a title from the list to read. Now might be a good time for “Walden.” (Facebook event page.)

Remember Mark Baumer, all welcome, 2pm to 4pm, Saturday, February, 4, Granoff Center, 154 Angell Street (directions)

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