Author/Historian Biggers, Winner of American Book Award, Kicks Off Series October 5
The College of Southern Maryland (CSM) opens its Connections Literary Series this fall with a reading by author and historian Jeff Biggers.
Biggers, who will present his reading at CSM’s Leonardtown Campus Oct. 5, brings a timely message as outlined in his latest book, “Resistance: Reclaiming an American Tradition.” “Resistance” takes a fresh look at American history and the spirit that pervades the country’s beginnings and current day.
“My book was inspired by my 12-year-old son, who asked if there was any hope in an age of Trump, an age of climate change,” Biggers said. “I’ve written eight books of cultural history and hundreds of stories, but my son’s question made this book as about as daring as anything I could attempt.”
In “Resistance,” Biggers brings alive early Native American, African American and immigrant struggles, women’s rights and environmental justice movements. With lucidity, meticulousness and wit, he suggests that the Colonies and then the United States are defined by resistance to duplicitous civil authority.
Biggers said he responded to his son’s question “by reconsidering how the arc of everyday resistance, and not just random episodes of rebellion, has shaped our American experience in moving those challenges forward — not backward. To remind him, and perhaps myself, that any hope for the future depends on our ability to reclaim the narrative of a long continuum of resistance that has been the foundation of our country and the bulwark against the very forces that have threatened our democracy since its founding.”
Biggers is an award-winning historian, journalist and playwright based in Iowa and Italy. He has worked as a writer, performer and educator across the United States, Europe, India and Mexico, and his work has received numerous honors, including an American Book Award.
‘Stories hit the heart and help create empathy’
The second reading in CSM’s literary series this fall will feature Alan King, an author, poet, journalist and videographer from Bowie. King’s reading will take place Nov. 2 at the Prince Frederick Campus.
King is a communications specialist for a national nonprofit, Words Beats & Life, and is a senior editor of a global hip hop journal produced by that organization. King is also the author of two books of narrative poetry, “POINT BLANK” and “DRIFT.”
“I like to tell stories. So, it’s natural that I’m a narrative poet,” King said. “I hope students and community members leave [a reading] with an understanding of the impact of stories. Stories hit the heart and help create empathy. I hope my reading creates empathy for the characters in my poems.”
King has served as a visiting author for Pen Faulkner’s Writers-in-Schools program. One teacher said King’s Pen Faulkner visit to her classroom helped young people “see literature as it happens, rather than as it happened in history.”
“I’m looking forward to having conversations with students and the larger CSM community on issues brought up by our visiting authors this fall,” said Professor Neal Dwyer, organizer of the Connections series. “Historian Jeff Biggers will discuss, among other things, the history of resistance in the U.S. and its relevance to today, while poet Alan King will read poems that deal with the damaging effects of toxic masculinity.”
While CSM’s Connections readings are designed to offer the Southern Maryland community a chance to hear from and meet established and emerging local writers up-close-and-personal, the series also produces the Connections Literary Magazine. This regional literary journal features poems, stories, artwork and photography submitted by students, staff and Southern Maryland residents.
Publication readings from the magazine take place in December and May each year, with the next scheduled reading Dec. 2 at the La Plata Campus.
Those who are interested in being considered for publication in the fall issue must submit their work by the Oct. 26 deadline. Submission guidelines are available at www.csmd.edu/community/connections-literary-series/connections-magazine.
To view dozens of videos from past and recent CSM literary events, visit the college’s official YouTube Educational Channel, https://www.youtube.com/view_play_list?p=F2D9EBEBF5D43F65. For information about CSM’s Connections Literary Series, visit www.csmd.edu/community/connections-literary-series/.