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Open Minded Poetry Open Mic Night at BluSeed tonight

SARANAC LAKE – Columnist. Journalist. Poet. All of these words describe Yvona Fast, a writer whose website, wordaremyworld.com, succinctly states her worldview.

“Words really are my world,” she states on her site, and, judging by her prolific output, she means it.

As part of National Poetry Month, Fast will host a poetry Open Mic tonight at BluSeed Studios. She was instrumental in helping to organize the Adirondack Center for Writing’s inaugural PoemVillage Saranac Lake event, where, beginning April 11, over 400 poems written by full-time and part-time Tri-Lakes residents will be displayed in the windows of partnering businesses in downtown Saranac Lake. She has written a weekly column, “North Country Kitchen,” for the Weekender and the Lake Placid News for the past 11 years. She has written over 100 magazine articles for publications all over the world since selling her first article in 1993. When she learned she had Non-Verbal Learning Disability, she wrote a book, “Employment for Individuals with Asperger Syndrome or Non-Verbal Learning Disability: Stories and Strategies,” in 2004. She co-authored a memoir with her mother Dana, a Holocaust survivor, in 2011 called “My Nine Lives: A Memoir.” In 2013, she wrote “Garden Gourmet: Fresh & Fabulous Meals from your North Country Garden, CSA or Farmer’s Market,” a collection of recipes from her column. She has had poetry published in two anthologies and often posts pairings of haiku she has written with photographs she has taken of the places that inspired them. She belongs to several writing groups, including the Adirondack Center for Writing, the Adirondack Writers Guild and the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators.

As you can see, she clearly loves to write, and she’s been making money from it since the age of 10, when, as a Polish immigrant who had only been speaking English for a little over a year, she won a $25 bond for an essay on Abraham Lincoln called, “My Favorite American.”

“I don’t think I knew about anybody else,” she said. “We left Poland when I was seven and came to the states when I was nine.”

After leaving Warsaw, Fast and her mother lived in Tel Aviv, Israel, Haifa, Israel, Chicago, Illinois, and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania before settling in the Syracuse area. Her family moved to the Tri-Lakes area when she was in college, and she moved here permanently in 2002 after traveling the world for several years.

“I was all over the place,” she said with a laugh.

While Fast said she wrote some poetry in school, she said joining Randy Lewis’ Pen and Parchment writing group rekindled her love for the art form.

“My poems are inspired by nature,” she said. “I go out and walk, and I see things. I come home quickly and write them down, and it becomes a poem.”

Fast said she approached BluSeed Studios a few months ago about hosting the event to celebrate National Poetry Month, and she stressed that poets and lovers of poetry alike will enjoy the event.

“It’s like any other open mic,” she said. “You can just come and listen, or you can come and read.”

Fast will begin the evening by reading a few of her poems before opening the floor up to participants. She said people are welcome to read their own work or the work of other poets, if they so choose. Asked if she had any advice for first-timers who may be nervous about sharing their work in a public forum, Fast answered they should dive right in.

“Just do it,” she said. “People are very supportive. Nobody is going to criticize you.

“Something you say might touch somebody.”

For more information, visit bluseedstudios.org or wordsaremyworld.com.

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