Susan Dale Eastman Allison, age 56 (6.12.61 - 5.15.18), is the first Poet Laureate of Middletown, CT. Born in Derby, CT and raised in Louisville, Kentucky. She attended Wesleyan University in Middletown and, after a year of mountain climbing and traveling through East Africa, she graduated in 1985 with a BA in African Studies. 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 now on 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. 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 has two poetry books soon to be published by Ibis Books - Poet Laureate of Middletown Proclaimed and Provoked and Be Full.
Susan is survived by her husband of 30 years, Stephan, and son, John; father Warren Eastman; sister Cynthia Eastman, her husband Angelo Farenga and their children Christopher Willis, Annie Musso and husband Anthony and son Luca; Justine Pilar and husband Adam and children Madeline and Aiden; and brother Richard Eastman; her brother-in-law Fredrick Allison, sisters-in-law Gretchen Shannon and husband Terrence and children Sarah, and Jesse and his wife Kara; and Anne Brown and husband Steuart and daughter Allie and husband Joshua. Susan was predeceased by her mother Patricia Russell Eastman.
A public celebration of Susan’s life will take place on June 16 beginning at 5:30 p.m. at the Community Health Center, 675 Main St., Middletown. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Susan D. E. Allison Fund, Community Foundation of Middlesex County, 49 Main St., Middletown, CT 06457
To share a memory of Susan or send condolences, visit www.doolittlefuneralservice.com.