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Meet Alex Tétreault, Greater Sudbury’s newest poet laureate

Induction of city’s eighth poet laureate also served as an opportunity to bid farewell to its first, Roger Nash, who is moving to British Columbia in July
Greater Sudbury unveiled its newest poet laureate, Alex Tétreault, on June 10. The city's new official poet will serve a two-year term.

Alex Tétreault said he’s started referring to Greater Sudbury’s growing number of past poet laureates as the “Legion of Doom.”

In case you’re not in the know, the Legion of Doom is a group of supervillains who originated in Challenge of the Superfriends from Hanna-Barbera, based on DC Comics’ Justice League.

“I'm really glad to be part of that Legion of Doom now,” said Tétreault, who was revealed as Greater Sudbury’s eighth poet laureate June 10.

He said he’s excited, touched, proud and “slightly terrified” to have been named to the role.

“I love this community so much, and I don't want to let it down in any way,” Tétreault said.  “Really, what I would love to do with this term is get as many people as possible expressing themselves in whatever way feels best for them.”

Tétreault, who will hold the position until 2026, receiving an honorarium of $1,000 for the term, is actually a theatre artist, and comes to poetry through playwriting.

“I don't have a tendency to write just straight poetry,” said Tétreault, a bilingual writer who has worked for Théâtre du Nouvel-Ontario in the past.

“I prefer to integrate poetry into my theatre, into my playwriting, into basically everything that I write. I think that for me, what's going to be really important for me throughout my term is sort of opening and broadening the conversation about what poetry can be.”

In his term, Tétreault hopes to continue with the poetry open mic nights introduced by his immediate predecessor, Kyla Heyming, but open it up to different types of artists, pushing the envelope of what is considered poetry.

A past chair of Sudbury Pride, Tétreault also hopes to work with marginalized communities in his role. “I also do a whole lot of community work and activism, and I like to integrate that into my art,” he said, adding that he uses his work to broaden people’s horizons.

During the press conference at the Greater Sudbury Public Library’s main branch where Tétreault was introduced as poet laureate, he shared a bilingual poem he wrote for the occasion.

(We have shared Tétreault’s induction poem in its entirety at the end of this article).

At the ceremony to unveil Greater Sudbury's newest poet laureate, Alex Tétreault, are past poet laureates (from left) Roger Nash (2010-12), Kyla Heyming (2022-24) and Chloé LaDuchesse (2018-20). Heidi Ulrichsen /

“I have to say it was difficult to write something, because how do you kick off something like this, right?” he said. “How can I write something that would best exemplify my feelings towards this community, and what I hope to achieve, and what I want to celebrate. It was actually my partner who was just like, write about what you like about Sudbury. OK, I can do that.”

The June 6 press conference was attended by Mayor Paul Lefebvre as well as three other past Greater Sudbury poet laureates — immediate past poet laureate Kyla Heyming (2022-2024), inaugural poet laureate Roger Nash (2010-12) and Chloé LaDuchesse (2018-2020).

Other past poet laureates include Vera Constantineau (2020-2022), Kim Fahner (2016-2018), Thomas Leduc (2014-2016) and Daniel Aubin (2012-2014).

Greater Sudbury Public Library CEO Brian Harding with Kyla Heyming, the 2022-2024 Greater Sudbury poet laureate. Heidi Ulrichsen/

Kyla Heyming: ‘It was a really great experience’

Greater Sudbury Public Library CEO Brian Harding said the list of Heyming’s accomplishments as poet laureate over the past two years is long. 

“I've seen it — there's a 20-page report,” he said, adding that she’s done everything from hold open mic poetry nights at the Knowhere Public House to collaborating with the Sudbury Symphony Orchestra.

“The experience was just so fulfilling, and it was a really great experience,” said Heyming, the city’s youngest-ever poet laureate. “It's kind of a bittersweet moment right now, just because I had such a wonderful time. But I'm looking forward to a little bit of rest.”

Greater Sudbury inaugural poet laureate Roger Nash (standing) greets the city's eighth poet laureate, Alex Tétreault. Heidi Ulrichsen/

Greater Sudbury owes Roger Nash ‘so many thanks’

Tétreault’s induction was also used as an opportunity to pay tribute to Greater Sudbury’s inaugural poet laureate, Roger Nash, and his spouse, Chris Nash. 

The well-known local couple are moving away from Sudbury to Burnaby, B.C., next month to be closer to their son.

“I want to thank you for all that you've done in our community over the last decades and decades and decades,” said Mayor Lefebvre. “You proudly served us as the city’s first poet laureate and made a lasting impression on this program and the impact of the role.” 

Roger, a retired professor of philosophy at Laurentian University, said he and Chris have been in Sudbury since 1966, so this is their chosen hometown.

“We will have a view of the mountains from our condo there,” he said. “I will accept that as replacing my view of Lake Nepahwin. But I shall miss Lake Nepahwin.”

Roger said the poet laureate position has encouraged Sudburians to find their own voice. They may not be literary artists, but they realize “I've got to speak up for myself, what I think is important, what I am afraid of and what I take joy in,” he said.

Past poet laureate Kim Fahner couldn’t be at the event, but she praised Roger Nash as one of her mentors going back to her earliest days as a poet.

“The City of Greater Sudbury owes him so many thanks for the hard work he has done over the decades here in town,” she said. “Without him, the focus on poetry as a literary and cultural presence and influence simply would not be present in the fabric of the city.”

Alex Tétreault’s inaugural poem 

On laisse tomber nos fardeaux et nos masques à la porte. Assis autour du premier feu de camp du printemps, j’ai un bâton à marshmallow dans une main, un cidre rendu tiède dans l’autre. Pendant que notre boucane camoufle les étoiles, on se donne des nouvelles. On parle de tout et de rien, on sort le méchant. Quelqu’un va me passer sa tondeuse demain matin parce que mon parterre commence à faire pitié. On imagine des solutions aux plus grands problèmes de l’humanité, rien de moins. Quelqu’un dans le hot tub lâche une joke plate. Le host lance deux bûches dans les braises, signalant qu’on y est encore pour un peu.

As the sausages come off the grill, time’s come to a standstill. We don’t know what tomorrow’s going to bring, but all that matters is this, this place, these people, the future becoming this white blank page, a story that’s ours to write. This seemingly small, insignificant night in a backyard on Patterson Street is but one of many such small moments happening tonight. These little bursts of joy, of celebration, of commiseration, of sorrow, of humanity binding us all to one another. Who could ever figure out where anything begins or ends? But, then again, why would we ever want to?

Heidi Ulrichsen is’s assistant editor. She also covers education and the arts scene.


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Heidi Ulrichsen

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