A Poetry Movement in New Britain

By Geoff Elterich

Staff Writer

Michael “Chief” Peterson, New Britain’s poet laureate and dean of students at New Britain High School, is determined to start a poetry movement in the city.

On Friday, June 24th, starting at 8 p.m., Chief will bring his show, Expressions, to New Britain’s Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) Post 511 building on Veteran’s Drive. The VFW has been a welcoming host to many events, galas, and shows over the years. The building offers a lot of space, a necessity considering Chief expects 150 people to attend.

VFW Post 511 on Veteran's Drive. Photo by Geoff Elterich

VFW Post 511 on Veteran’s Drive. Photo by Geoff Elterich

This is the third Expressions performance, and according to Chief, it will be, “a good adult time, something different from the nightclub. It’s entertaining and it’s an emotional roller coaster, guaranteed to engage you.” He’s not sure just yet what emotions will be on display, but “whether you laugh or cry, when you connect emotionally, you have a good experience. Everybody wants that.”

Chief is an award-winning poet who has performed all over the country, but he wanted to do something special in New Britain. “I could have gone elsewhere with the show, but I really wanted to bring it home,” he said.

The other artists have performed all over as well, and they are coming in from as far as California. Chief will be performing, but he mostly wants to showcase the talent of the other artists.

Poster courtesy of Michael Peterson

Poster courtesy of Michael Peterson

The host of the show, Leslie “Buttaflysoul” Taylor, is coming in from Chicago for Expressions. He considers himself an all-around entertainer. “I do it all,” Taylor claims, including theater, music, and comedy. What he enjoys most is making people laugh, but he has a passion for theater. In addition to directing Chief’s critically acclaimed one man show, I Wish Life Had Training Wheels, he has written and directed his own one man show.

With Expressions, Taylor explains that the audience should, “expect us to be funny as hell. Really funny.” But, like Chief, he recognizes the importance and the impact of making an emotional connection while performing.

“The one thing I want to say to people, is that if you have any family members or friends that you know of that could have been in a place like Club Pulse in Orlando, let them know that you love them,” said Taylor.

Taylor considers Chief family and he is happy the show is in New Britain. When he’s here, it, “never feels like work.”  Plus, when he’s in town, he gets to enjoy what he describes as “the best fish and grits in the world,” made by none other than Chief’s mother, Peaches.

All performers have worked together in some way, and their credits are impressive. Rudy Francisco is coming from California for the show. He is a National Poetry Slam Champion.  The other performers, Helena Lewis and Lynette Johnson, are award-winning spoken word artists. Chief has worked with both and he describes them as “uber-talented.”

You can purchase tickets for Expressions by visiting Chief’s website, emailing PoetryShowLive@gmail.com, or calling 781-412-4433. The performances are sure to be powerful. Also, check out Chief’s youtube page for a preview of what to expect from the show, including his latest video, a special Father’s Day presentation, “Daddy Issues.”