Lola Koundakjian (Լօլա Գունտաքճեան in Armenian) was born in Beirut, Lebanon and has been living in New York City since 1979. She holds a BA from Hunter College (CUNY) in fine arts and an MA from Columbia University in Armenian Studies. From 1998-2015, she worked at Time Inc in IT, specializing in magazine technology.
Koundakjian has served on the board of Ararat Quarterly from 1995 to 2007, and from 2010-2012 was the poetry editor there. She was the founding editor of the Journal of the Association of Armenian Information Professionals and Le Cercle Francophone at Hunter College; she has written several health, technology and computer articles for AIM Magazine (California); lectured extensively about Computers in Armenian Studies, and has taught as an adjunct at Saint Nersess Seminary, in Upstate New York.
Her poetry has appeared online in alpialdelapalabra (Argentina), Armenian Poetry Project (New York City), The Literary Groong (University of Southern California), Crime Poetry Weekly, Poetas Siglo XXI, Mediterranean.nu (Sweden) and, UniVerse (Chicago); and in print in anthologies such as Poems for the Hazara (Norway), Anthology Memoria del XX Festival Internacional de Poesía de Medellin (Colombia), Fórnix 12 (Lima, Peru), Mizna (Vol 13, 2, USA), Kragan Spiurk - Literary Diaspora, (Armenia), Armenian Weekly (Boston, USA), Horizon (Canada) and Pakin (Beirut, Lebanon).
Lola has read her work in different venues in Los Angeles, Boston, Rhode Island and New York City. In 2011, she read at the First New York Poetry Festival. In the past few years, she has appeared at the Cornelia Street Café; 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; Bloom Reading, WordUp, Sunday Best, Local Word, and, the Above The Bridge reading series. Her collaborations include readings with the L.A. Zephyrs, GARTAL, and the Greek-American reading series, as well as the Zvartnots String Quartet. Since 2013, she has co-curated a poetry series at the Zohrab Center in New York City.
For over 20 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, Ukrainian, Asturian, French and Spanish. She was an invited poet at the 20th Festival Internacional de Poesía, Medellín, Colombia in July 2010. In July 2013, she was invited to the Second Festival Internacional de Poesía, in Lima, Peru, and in October 2013, to the first Mamilla International Poetry Festival in Ramallah, West Bank. In October 2014, she was the first Armenian poet to read at the 30th international poetry festival at Trois-Rivières, Quebec, Canada.
After her Master’s degree from Columbia University, Koundakjian presented academic papers at the Middle East Studies Association (MESA), Association Internationale des Etudes Arméniennes and the Society for Armenian Studies conferences and has been published in proceedings in the U.S., Europe and Armenia. From 2010-2013, she served on the Armenian Center's board at Columbia University.
She is the author of the Armenian/English poetry collection The Accidental Observer, which includes translations in Spanish. Her second book, Advice To A Poet, was a finalist in Armenia's Orange Book Prize in 2012 and was featured at Amotape Libros in Lima, Peru in 2014. A US edition was published in 2015.
Lola has received literary grants the Northern Manhattan Arts Alliance (NoMAA) in 2011 and 2012, and the Mabel Fenner Scholarship, in 2011. In 2014 she was a recipient of the Naji Naaman Literary Prize (Lebanon), She has taken poetry workshops led by Suzanne Parker, Marie Howe, Billy Collins, Mark Doty, Patricia Smith and, Elaine Equi.
A ceramist from 1982-2008, she is in several private collections in the US and Canada.