February 23, 2015

For Immediate Release
Contact: Robbin Zella 203-332-5052


The Women Gather Poetry Event @ the Housatonic Museum of Art

Bridgeport, CT – The Women Gather at Housatonic Museum of Art is hosted free of charge. These public readings by emerging and established poets is organized by Shanna T. Melton and sponsored by the Housatonic Museum of Art. The series highlights the poetry of women and encourages writers from different aesthetic disciplines and traditions in order to broaden our community’s understanding of contemporary poetry.

This free event will be held in the Burt Chernow Galleries on Thursday, March 5 from 6 P.M. until 9 P.M. The public is cordially invited to attend.

About the Poets
Jasmine Eaton a/k/a jazz-e is a spoken word artist/ poet and a native of Bridgeport, CT. She is a graduate of Clark Atlanta University, although she likes to say that it was the streets of Atlanta inspired her to write. She explores a myriad of topics, from the psychological chains of slavery, to hip hop, to friendship, to mental illness and, of course, love. jazz-e has also hosts her own a local poetry event called Mics of the Roundtable, which is a successful performing opportunity for underground artists. She is also a member of the 2013 Connecticut National Slam Team.

Darlene Brandon, affectionately known as Peaches, established herself as a professional performance poet in 2002. Since then, she has recorded a spoken word CD entitled Thick Like Peaches and has traveled and performed in several cities across the United States. She made her acting debut in 2003 as Orange in Ntozake Shange’s For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When The Rainbow is Enuf. Currently, Darlene is the owner and founder of MaPeach Productions; a thriving theater company based in Hartford CT. MaPeach Productions has mounted several performances, most notably The Wiz in 2012 and A Raisin in The Sun in 2013. In addition, Darlene has been working on a new book titled The Sweetest Agony, a compilation of short stories and love poems.

Iyapiphany, also known as Mwalima Sherry, has been performing since 1998. Her poetry is a verbal snapshot of her opinions, life experiences, and commentary on the condition and progress of Black people. She loves the written word and gives thanks for the opportunity to contribute her voice to the verbal tableau of artists, writers and Mothers. She is an English teacher and strives to help parents, "use their words" to create stronger ties to one another. She believes that this is the "three fold knot" mentioned in Ecclesiates, "...a three cord knot shall not break."

Toya, more commonly known as Decipher the poet, has been writing poetry for over ten years. She made her spoken word debut in 2008. Since then, she has performed for neosoul recording artists, comedians, radio stations, and at Women of Faith conferences. Additionally, she has featured at various artistic venues, throughout the East Coast and southern states; a string of Universities and Colleges, and charity events. Her poetry has appeared in three separate theatrical productions. She is especially noted for her collections of poems which focus on women empowerment, love and relationships, and the female experience.

Shanna Melton is a poet, painter and an art consultant from Bridgeport, Connecticut. Currently, she serves as the Poetry Ambassador at Housatonic Community College curating many poetry events for the Bridgeport Community. Poetry events that she has produced for the Housatonic Museum of Art include, Transcending Continents which brought local artists together with a music group from Senegal, Africa for a night of poetry and music. The Women Gather is an annual event inspired by the Nikki Giovanni poem of the same name. Women poets are celebrated and share their experiences through poetry and storytelling. This event is balanced with the celebration of male poets called In His Words. In the summer of 2013 and 2014, she brought emerging and established poets together for The PoeMobile in collaboration with the Housatonic Museum of Art and City Lore. This program featured artists from Bridgeport, New Haven, New York and Boston, and included the Poet Laureate of Connecticut, Dick Allen. Shanna is the founder of Lyrical Voices Night of Poetry & Arts, The Writer’s Group, and co-founder of Verses, a night of poetry at the Nuyorican Poets Café, presented by Urbintel Productions. She is also the author of a collection of poetry titled “A Voice in the Symphony”. In January 2011, Shanna was presented with a citation from The State of Connecticut through Bridgeport's Black Pride with their Woman to Know Award which is given to people who create positive change in their community in line with the vision of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.