Friday, April 6, 2018
National Poetry Month was established in 1996 by the Academy of American Poets as a way to increase awareness and appreciation of poetry in America. Long before then, Bethlehem residents took it to town vote in 1987 with Warrant Article 31, and established the town motto to be “Poetry Capital of New Hampshire”. To this day, there is still a plaque located in village center noting exactly that.
In honor of April being National Poetry Month, and Bethlehem being the Poetry Capital of New Hampshire, 42 Maple Contemporary Art Center is thrilled to welcome Bethlehem poet, Mark Chain, to the gallery for the month of April with an opening reception and live poetry reading on Friday, April 6th from 7pm to 9pm.
Chain’s life has long been a series of fascinating experiences. After a year of University in the mid-1960s, he left for VISTA-training and extended service as a community organizer on New York’s Lower East Side. 1969-75 found him living, working, and writing, first at Franconia College, then in a cabin on Dodge Pond in Lyman. In 1976 his life took him to Munich, Germany. After a decade of publication, readings, translation work, and making radio programs there, Chain returned to the States for 6 months in 1980 to study with and be teaching assistant to Allen Ginsberg and Ted Berrigan at Naropa Institute in Boulder, Colorado.
It was on his return to Germany from Boulder that Chain spent several days in New York, during which time he visited the Museum of Modern Art’s “Pablo Picasso A Retrospective” exhibit. After being back in Munich several months, he wrote the drafts of what would become his bilingual series of “Picasso Poems”. The next years found him writing a political cabaret piece and beginning work and training in the field of Transpersonal Psychotherapy. Leaving Munich in 1986, he moved to the Upper Black Forest region to continue his therapeutic training and subsequently begin private practice. Chain’s work as both a poet and a therapist has taken him full circle through Germany, Austria, and back to the North Country.
After his return to the U.S. in 1992, he was an adjunct faculty member at Burlington College and the University of Vermont. After moving back to the Littleton area in 1995, he worked as a volunteer therapist at the original Burch House, was a private caregiver in Bethlehem, one of the archivists for the Franconia College Archives, and, in 2005, became founding Executive Director of Alumni Hall in Haverhill. In 2016, after living again in a small cabin in Lyman for 12 years, he decided it was time to “come out of the woods” and moved back to Bethlehem.
It was during his time in Munich that Chain began considering “entelechy”; the exhibit’s title, “Poetry…Entelechy”, and his work being featured at 42 Maple Art Center reflect this. In it’s simplest terms, entelechy means “the realization of potential”. The concept is intimately connected with Aristotle’s distinction between matter and form, or the potential and the actual. In this exhibition, you will see Chain’s poetry echo and balance a number of Pablo Picasso’s paintings. Not only do the words and content of Chain’s poetry dance with Picasso’s art, but the unique layout of his poetry also mirrors Picasso’s visual elements.
Chain will be presenting his poetry on stage at 42 Maple during the opening reception, and all are invited to celebrate National Poetry Month on April 6th from 7 pm to 9 pm. Chain’s poetry and Picasso’s works will be on display until April 30th.