Meet Sudbury’s newest poet laureate: Kyla Heyming

Although writing came naturally to Kyla Heyming, she says it wasn’t an easy task finding like-minded people growing up in Sudbury.

Now, as the Nickel City’s seventh poet laureate, Heyming says she hopes to inspire the next generation of writers to express themselves and find their own community in the north.

“Growing up, I was having a hard time connecting with other writers, finding resources, groups, a sentiment of belonging beforehand,” Heyming said. “I really couldn’t see anybody else like me.”

Heyming said her youth – at 28, the youngest poet laureate in Sudbury’s history – might help “build a bridge” to aspiring writers as they learn to master the craft.

“If there are other young people who are writing, they’ll feel more compelled to come and participate,” she said. “Or to reach out and to feel like they don’t have to wait until they’re older, until they’ve worked their nine to five jobs, or gone to university to pursue their writing.”

Heyming describes her work as “a little bit all over the place,” as she has also written fiction, nonfiction and carries certification as a technical writer. All of the different forms, she said, inform one another.

She also credits her tools as being an inspiration – she composes her work on one of a collection of four typewriters, including an Underwood, and Olivetti Lettera 22, a We R Memory Keepers, and a Smith-Corona Profile 100.

Kyla Heyming composes poetry, including the ones in her latest book ‘For Those I Loved’ on a typewriter. (Submitted by Kyla Heyming)

“Every single poem I’ve ever written has been first typed on a typewriter,” she said. “So there is that kind of personal, physical connection when I write. And so I think that in itself translates a little bit into what I do.”

Her family has also had a profound influence on her work.

“I had a very close connection with my Opa, especially when it came down to reading and writing,” she said.

“When I first started sharing my poetry either online or just with some family and friends, he was one that was really struck by the kind of raw emotion in the contents.”

And although English wasn’t his first language – Heyming said her grandparents were Dutch immigrants – he would take time to know and read every single poem, including one called Tell Me a Story.

“At his passing, when my mother was kind of making all the arrangements for his celebration of life, he had selected that very poem to be included in greeting cards for all those who attended,” she said.

“So I know that not only did Opa enjoy my poetry, and felt a connection to it, but I know in this role, he’d be proud that other people hopefully can make that connection with my work as well.”

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