x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 23 January 2018

Zahi Wehbe turns to his first love - poetry

The TV host and activist will recite his own verse to the accompaniment of the oud.

Zahi Wehbe, the Lebanese poet, TV host, and activist. Lee Hoagland/ The National
Zahi Wehbe, the Lebanese poet, TV host, and activist. Lee Hoagland/ The National

No prior reservation is required to stop by Cafe Arabia in Abu Dhabi this evening and listen to a poetry reading by the renowned Lebanese media personality Zahi Wehbe, but don't stop by too late - you might not find an empty chair to spare. At 7pm tonight, Wehbe, who is of Palestinian origin, will be accompanied by the oud player Sherine Tohamy, for a unique night celebrating Arab talent.

As a politician, poet and TV host, Wehbe has become one of the most celebrated faces on Future TV - the Lebanese channel launched by the late Rafik Hariri. He rose to fame as the host of the channel's longest-running show Khaleek Bil Beit (Stay At Home), where he engages in dialogue with some of the Arab world's biggest names.

He has interviewed singers, actors, authors, poets, politicians, intellectuals and artists, many of whom rarely grant interviews. He presented the programme for 15 years before he resigned last year.

Recently, Wehbe has been concentrating on his writing, both poetry and prose. As a contemporary poet, his focus is mostly on love, as the titles of his more famous poems suggest: What You've Done to Me, Dance With Me a Little, Middle of Love Desires and She Puts Make-up on for Me.

His latest collection of poems, Leman Yahemouh Alhob (To Whomever is Concerned with Love) was released on Valentine's Day in Beirut.

The collection comprises 41 poems written in prose. Love, yearning and desire are all touched upon in Wehbe's poems, where passion becomes the counterpart of the havoc that destroys societies.

Entry is Dh20, which includes a beverage. Contact 02 643 9699 for more details. Follow Wehbe's Arabic Twitter feed: @ZahiWehbe