Bio

Susan AllisonSusan Allison is the first Poet Laureate of Middletown, CT serving from 2015 until her death in 2018. Born in Derby, CT in 1961 and raised in Louisville, Kentucky, she returned to Wesleyan University to earn a BA in African Studies in 1985 after mountain climbing and traveling through East Africa. Shortly after graduation, she opened an old and rare bookshop, Ibis Books & Gallery, on Rapallo Avenue in Middletown’s North End. The shop was transformed in 1991 into NEAR, Inc./The Buttonwood Tree, an arts and cultural performance space originally on Rapallo but moved to Main Street which continues to be a hub of artistic and cultural activity. Susan’s second book of poetry was published by Antrim House Books in 2009. She has read from her work in libraries and other many other venues across Connecticut and New York. She recently opened for Richard Blanco, the 2012 Inaugural Poet. Annie Dillard calls her second book of poetry, Down by the Riverside Ways, "…the work of a talented poet." Rennie McQuilken, Connecticut's Poet Laureate and publisher, says, "Susan Allison has done for Middletown, Connecticut, what Williams did for Paterson, New Jersey: she has seen past its pedestrian surface to its mythical underpinnings. She has written a book whose passion, honesty, and visceral style make it an important contribution to the world of poetry." Susan lived in Middletown with her husband, Stephan, and son, John. She passed away on May 15, 2018 and her husband maintains her catalog. All proceeds from the sale of her books go to the Susan D. E. Allison Fund of the Community Foundation of Middlesex County, whose endowment provides an annual honorarium to the current poet laureate of the City of Middletown.