Susan Allison was the first Poet Laureate of Middletown, CT. Born in Derby, CT 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 venue across Connecticut and New York. She recently opened for Richard Bianco, 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 died in 2018.
Down by the Riverside Wyas