Poet Susan Allison is founder of Ibis Books & Gallery which in 1991 became NEAR, Inc./, better known to us as The Buttonwood Tree, an arts and cultural performance space on Main Street in Middletown.
Born in Derby, Connecticut and raised in Louisville, Kentucky, she calls poetry and wanderlust the two main constants in her life. After mountain-climbing and hitch-hiking through East Africa, she returned to Wesleyan University to earn a BA in African Studies in 1985. Shortly after graduation, she sought out bookstores handling used and rare books, and these became a new destination point for her wanderlust – until she opened Ibis in 1989. Hundreds of poets, performers, artists and book-lovers all over the state are so very glad she did: The Buttonwood Tree is a lively on-going venue for artists and art in many forms!
Susan Allison lives in Middletown with her husband, Stephan, and son, John. Her most recent book of poetry “Down by the Riverside Ways,” has had a warm and enthusiastic reception. According to John Bassinger, “Some poets produce highly polished and showy zirconium studded with many well-behaved commas. Susan Allison has created poems that seem to have become naturally what they are as diamonds, emerge from carbon under pressure, not laid out on black velvet, but set in mother earth.” For sample poems: