About Lola – Լօլա Գունտաքճեան

At the Cloisters.
Photo by Farida Soumar.

Lola Koundakjian is an Armenian poet who has lived in New York City since 1979. She is the daughter of Harry L Koundakjian (1930-2014) and Aida Poladian Koundakjian.

In 2019, Lola appeared in two panels at AWP in Portland, Oregon dedicated to the memory of Diana Der-Hovanessian andPermanent Longing: Connecting Across Borders in Writing About Lost Homelands. On April 24 Lola read with four other Armenian authors, at the Asian American Writers’ Workshop which was broadcast live and is available on youtube.com. Her poem Այսօր — originally published in Horizon’s Literary supplement in May 2016 — was chosen by the Poetry Society, UK for a Young Poets Network translation workshop. In October 2019, she is an invitee to read at the FIP in Santiago Chile. Lola’s third collection of poetry, is scheduled to be published by end of year by Nueva York Poetry Press.

In 2018, Lola read in four events in New York City during the course of spring. Lola was scheduled to participate in a panel discussion on European Regions: Progress in Literary Culture at the annual MLA convention; the event was postponed due to bad weather. In 2017, she published several poems in various journals. In 2016, she participated in a conference at Oxford University’s Pembroke College dedicated to Western Armenian in the 21st century, sponsored by the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, Lisbon, Portugal. 

Lola’s poetry has appeared in journals and websites such as:  alpialdelapalabra (Argentina), Armenian Poetry Project (New York City), The Literary Groong (University of Southern California), Blood and Thunder (University of Oklahoma College of Medicine), One by Jacar PressBigCityLit,  Crime Poetry Weekly, Poetas Siglo XXI, Mediterranean Poetry, Atelier (Italy), and, UniVerse (Chicago); Anthology Memoria del XX Festival Internacional de Poesía de Medellin (Colombia), Fórnix 12 (Lima, Peru) Mizna (Vol 13, 2, USA), Anthology – Multilingual, the Americas Poetry Festival of New York, Artepoética, October 2016 ISBN-13 978-1-940075-46-4Kragan Spiurk – Literary Diaspora, (Armenia), Jamanak (Turkey), Horizon (Canada) Armenian Weekly and Hairenik (Boston, USA) and Pakin (Beirut, Lebanon).

In the U.S., Lola has read her work in venues in California, Massachusetts, Oregon, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New Jersey and New York City. In 2011, she read at the 3rd edition of The Americas Poetry Festival of New York in 2016, the first edition of New York Poetry Festival on Governor’s Island,  and has appeared at Poets House; KGB Bar; Great Weather’s Spoken Word Sundays at the Parkside Lounge  Cornelia Street Café; the New York Public Library; Voices in the City; the Englewood NJ Public Library; the Bowery Poetry Club; the Nuyorican Café; the Shevchenko Scientific Society; the United Nations Correspondents Association; several editions of her neighborhood’s  Northern Manhattan Arts Alliance (NoMAA) events including the annual Arts Stroll; Sunday Best, WordUp bookstore, Local Word, Bloom, and, the Above The Bridgereading series. Her collaborations include appearances with the L.A. Zephyrs, GARTAL, and the Greek-American reading series, as well as the Zvartnots String Quartet.

For over 25 years, Lola has organized evenings dedicated to the Dead Armenian Poets’ Society, and since 2006 has produced and edited text and audio, and translated for the multi-lingual Armenian Poetry Project.

Lola’s work was translated into Arabic, Asturian, French, Italian, Spanish and Ukrainian. 

In the past she was an invited poet at five international poetry festivals: the 20th Festival Internacional de Poesía, Medellín, Colombia in July 2010;  in 2013, to the Second Festival Internacional de Poesía, in Lima, Peru; the first Mamilla International Poetry Festival in Ramallah, West Bank, and in 2014, to the 30th international poetry festival at Trois-Rivieres, Quebec, and in 2019, the 2nd Festival Internacional de poesía, Santiago, Chile

After her Master’s degree from Columbia University, Lola presented academic papers in several Armenian Studies and Middle East Studies Association conferences. Her papers have been published in conference proceedings in the U.S., Europe and Armenia. 

Lola has received literary grants from the Northern Manhattan Arts Alliance (NoMAA) in 2011 and 2012, and the Mabel Fenner Scholarship, in 2011. She is the recipient of the 2014 Naji Naaman prize – creativity, and a finalist in the Orange Book prize in Armenia. She has taken poetry workshops led by distinguished writers such as Marie Howe (NY State Poet Laureate), Billy Collins (U.S. Poet Laureate), Mark Doty, Patricia Smith, Elaine Equi, and Suzanne Parker.

To contact Lola,  email her at Koundakjian[at]gmail.com

Follow Lola on the internet

Armenian-Poetry.blogspot.com, a resource for poets, teachers and readers since 2006

Lola’s work on the APP

Lola’s personal blog and her upcoming scheduled readings

Subscribe to Lola’s newsletter

Authors about Lola

The poetry reading community owes a huge debt of gratitude to Lola Koundakjian for her years of service to the art, making the work of Armenian poets, writers of Armenian ancestry in many languages, available to readers world-wide with her Armenian Poetry Project. Now, we meet Lola herself in three languages…and it’s about time! — Diana Der-Hovanessian

Lola Koundakjian’s first collection reveals a curious and prescient mind roaming the landscapes of our collective illusions – and disillusionments. Through her spare style and a measured economy of language, she manages to decipher the banality of the everyday on one page, and, on the next, dissect the anatomy of suffering. Insightful and poignant, this is the work of a meticulous observer, and an acutely aware consciousness.— Amir Parsa

These poems of longing and grace are the kind we pass from friend to friend. How wonderful to find them in three languages, each proclaiming their own bright joy.— William Michaelian

These poems tread lightly but so perceptively. In delicate language and in three tongues, the poet takes us on a winding journey, a walk through “the dew intertwined with mist” on the path leading to and from love, to and from a lover who is now there, now absent. This theme is played out sensitively against backdrops of New York, with echos of the Middle East and Armenia sounding sotto voce. A vignette of a garden on West 87th street with a mulberry tree and “crushed ripe mulberries” evokes loss, love and childhood. From this miniature of New York, Koundakjian shows us far places freshly — Firenze and Toscana, afternoon coffee in Spain and an evocation of Morocco. The Armenian and English texts are transpositions of her perceptions into the different cultures, each rewarding in its own modality and in the meaning to be found in the place between them. — Michael E. Stone

“y desapareces/ dejándome recuerdos/ bocados apenas” así inicia Lola Koundakjian su potencia evocadora. Así, dando nombres a los gestos íntimos de un pasado que se le hace pedazos en la memoria. Así, sus poemas, como un libro de viajes, recorren las sensaciones en imágenes que agregan futuro a lo ya sucedido. Olores, sabores y miradas que conforman memoriales cuyo objetivo es transformar el espacio de escritura en espacio conmemorativo. La densidad de Koundakjian reside en ofrecer ternura a la resistencia, en acordar una cita agradecida con sus raíces produciendo su propia perpetuación. El rito de la palabra hace justicia, nombra el destino del poema junto a su lector; su calidad de testigo. — Ana Arzoumanian

Lola Koundakjian continues to open doors with her passion for poetry. These spare but heartfelt pieces have several faces and textures because of the work she has done with their translations. An ambitious project that only a poetry advocate such as Lola can deliver. — Armine Iknadossian

Lola Koundakjian goes after real moments, and she does so quickly, concisely, masterfully–as if she is in panic of losing that rare afternoon light or the playful shadows cast over Central Park by the accidental cumulus clouds. She’s like those rare poet-photographers that must work swiftly if they want to capture the moment just right. — Shahé Mankerian

It is hard to find a better advocate for poetry across culture and time than Lola Koundakjian, and this collection is good hard evidence.— Alan Semerdjian

A trilingual volume of nostalgic reflections on the four seasons, filled with exotic aromas and flavours, drawing from the East and West, from Armenia and New York, from beyond and within, and in search of our common destiny. — Alan Whitehorn


~ by Lola Koundakjian on November 17, 2019.

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