Susan 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 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."
In April of 2020, Susan's poem, Mockingbird, was published in the Crosswinds Poetry Journal, Volume 5. Due to an editing error, the poem was published with missing stanzas and the publisher is republishing the complete poem in its 2021 edition.
New Ohio Review published in April, The Good Life in their exclusive online edition of 2020. This poem was singled out by the Editor, Dave Wanczyk, for inclusion in their "Animal" themed online edition. Dave Wanczyk explained his choosing the poem by saying "the last line of the poem is very surprising and, though straightforward, packs a complex punch".
While not selected for The Lascaux Prize in 2020, Susan's poem Mockingbird was long-listed, being in the final 30 out of over 2,000 entries.
And, in the Spring of 2020 Susan's poem, Slipknot for a Hurricane was chosen for inclusion in the Spring 2021 edition of the respected journal put out by Jill Hoffman, Mudfish 22, with the poem titled simply Slipknot.
Susan lived in Middletown with her husband, Stephan, and son, John. She died on May 15, 2018 and her husband maintains her catalog. All proceeds from the sale of her books go to either the Susan D. E. Allison Fund of the Community Foundation of Middlesex County, whose endowment provides cultural benefits to the community of the City of Middletown; or to the Susan Allison Memorial Tree Fund.