Poet Laureate

Inaugural term 2015-2018


City of Middletown, Connecticut


WHEREAS, Susan Dale Eastman Allison, the daughter of Warren O. and Patricia R. Eastman, was born in Derby, Connecticut on June 12, 1961; she grew up in Louisville, Kentucky, and has two siblings, Cindy and Richard; and
WHEREAS, Susan first came to Middletown in 1979 to study at Wesleyan University, the alma mater of both her father and brother;
she took time off during her studies to travel throughout East Africa, mountain-climbing and hitchhiking her way through her journey; Susan returned to Wesleyan University and earned a BA in African Studies in 1985; Susan met her husband, Stephan, and they became partners in life and in the arts and were married on May 21, 1988; they are the proud parents of son John, and continue to make their home together in Middletown; and
WHEREAS, Susan became fascinated with used and rare bookstores shortly after graduation; Susan spent a year in southwestern Virginia working at Dan Wheeler's Rare and Old Books from 1987 to 1988; she returned to Connecticut and in 1989 opened her own store, Ibis Books & Gallery on Rapallo Avenue in Middletown, providing the community with a place to meet and talk, recite poetry and play music; in 1991 Susan founded North End Arts Rising Inc./The Buttonwood Tree when the bookstore transformed into nonprofit status; NEAR Inc./The Buttonwood Tree still serves the community to this day as an arts and cultural performance space on Main Street in Middletown; and
WHEREAS, Susan refers to poetry and wanderlust as the two main constants in her life; in 1999 she published The Ibis in the Buttonwood Tree, with the support of a mini grant from the Middletown Commission on the Arts; in 2009 her book of poetry, Down by the Riverside Ways, was published by Antrim House Books; Susan has offered poetry readings and performances throughout Connecticut since 1989; she also served as a judge for the Martin Luther King Poetry Slam at the Peabody Museum in New Haven in 2002; she received the second place Connecticut Commission on the Arts Poetry Award in 2001, and the NAACP Community Service Award in 2006; and
WHEREAS, Susan has over twenty years of experience with local non-profits; she served as Director of the Middlesex Coalition for Children from 1999 to 2002, and as a Planning Assistant at the Academy of Wheeler Clinic from 2002 to 2005; she created Arts in the Atrium at Middlesex Hospital Cancer Center and ran the program from 2007 to 2008; Susan is currently with JBase Enterprises, LLC and is a master gardener with Stone Post Gardens in Middletown; she has taught photography and writing classes to teen mothers at The Buttonwood Tree, creative writing for seniors at Middlesex Community College, has been a visiting writer at Macdonough School, facilitated the Woman's Writing Circle at the Community Health Center, and instituted the "Kids Arts" summer program for the City of Middletown; and
WHEREAS, Susan has been named as the first Poet Laureate for the City of Middletown, receiving this honor in October of 2015; Susan has consistently nurtured the artistic spirit of the community, inspiring people with her poetry, promoting upcoming artists, bringing arts to the city, and consistently demonstrating a dedication to and expertise with the poetic form; in Susan's words, her "love and life is infused with the reverberations that poetic utterance brings to the world" and she brings that focus to promoting an understanding of and love for poetry to others.


NOW, THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, THAT I, DANIEL T. DREW, Mayor of the City of Middletown do hereby proclaim
Friday, October 30, 2015, as
in the City of Middletown and, on behalf of the residents it is my pleasure to congratulate Susan on being named the first Poet Laureate for the City of Middletown; I thank Susan for making Middletown her home, and for offering her passion and talents to this community.

IN TESTIMONY WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand and cause the seal of the City of Middletown to be affixed this 28th day of October, 2015.