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Jackson Heights poet celebrates the written word

Sylvester Arenas, 37, writing under the pen name Fabian, recently published his first collection of poems touching on emotional issues of romantic and family relationships."You can express yourself verbally, emotionally and still be a man," he said. Communication is essential for a couple, he said, "to reassure them that they are the one for you."The first-time author, one of seven siblings, was surrounded by family and friends Sunday at a book party at the Long Island City YMCA at 32-23 Queens Blvd., where he shared poems with the attendees feasting on a wide selection of foods.Arenas was not born a writer, he said, but love brought him to the craft. The baseball fan, raised in the Bronx, never dreamed of writing poetry, but instead hoped to play shortstop for his beloved Yankees. But on a Valentine's Day about 12 years ago he decided to present his then-girlfriend with a special gift and crafted a poem."What better way than to express something from the heart?" he said.The experience of writing enthralled him, and since then he carries a small notebook and jots down scraps of poems or ideas. He writes about his family, his loves and his ideals.He draws inspiration from his own experiences in the trials and tribulations of love and his Puerto Rican heritage."It is a wonderful thing when you fall in love, feeling there is no longer a need to search." But he said relationships also hold the potential for pain. "You have the heartbreak as well," he said.Arenas feels an important connection to the Caribbean island ancestral home of his family through Spanish language, food and traditions."You should never forget where you come from," he said.His first poems were written in Spanish, and he said that even now he writes with more passion in that language, but decided to publish in English because there is a larger market for readers. With more practice, he hopes to bring the energy he expresses in his Spanish poems to those he writes in English.He has also co-written several songs for New York rhythm and blues singer Geri King, he said. The book was self-published through iUniverse, based in Lincoln, Neb.Reach reporter Adam Pincus by e-mail at or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 154.

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