Nov 10, 2016

Tripoli Recites, by Zeina Hachem Beck



This is a post about how small the earth is. Back in my UAE days I learn there's a poetry gathering in Dubai, a couple hours away from where I lived. I contacted the organizers only to know they were Lebanese, she was Lebanese as a matter of fact. It was only her, Zeina, who was in charge of it all and that event happened to be the season finale before their summer/fall break. Knowing the curator of PUNCH (see here) being Lebanese, and later on finding out she's also from Tripoli was a blast. I do have a handful of friends from Tripoli too, some living abroad, but they all have this in common: they have started a poetry collective wherever they are. Samer Annous, assistant professor at the university of Balamand, has been famous for running those monthly poetry gatherings in Mina, particularly every first Wednesday of a new month. Sara Sibai has blown minds with her spoken word poetry, and keeps on doing so. She is now curator of the Beirut Poetry Slam, and also took part previously in initiatives such as the Soapbox Society.

Back to Zeina, that veteran Tripolitan, wife, and mother of two adorable daughters, had found it best to start what is known now by PUNCH: Dubai-Based Poetry and Open Mic Collaborative, probably the only of its kind in all of the emirates. I met Zeina the first time, during their season finale event where they gathered some of the most profound spoken-word artists ever. Some of them had moved us to tears, while some others swept us off our feet with their mesmerizing performances of love, deceit and so much more, some others were so great at filling the whole lounge with giggles and laughter, however.

I like to celebrate people of this kind, the sort that brings other people together, that brings other energies together in one spot and moves on with it, shapes it up and brings it up to the world in an unprecedented way. Zeina's poetry slams have received much praise by Dubai-based and international media, aside from being praised for her own work, being an accomplished poet and spoken word artist. It might be highly relevant, too, to mention that I'd heard of Zeina through her previous work with my beloved Fayha Choir, in an outstanding performace called 3Araby Song (video below).

Long story short, Zeina is going back home tomorrow, for her second solo performance in Tripoli, in Warche-13 in particular, the gorgeous newly-opened cultural venue in Mina. Event details can be see here on Facebook, and will launch at 7.00pm sharp. The event will be followed by a book signing.


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