the Armenian Poetry Project
the Zephyr Poets from Los Angeles: Tina Demirjian, Armine Iknadossian, Shahe Mankerian, and Alene Terzian
reading with New York City-based writers Nancy Agabian, Lola Koundakjian, Amir Parsa, and Alan Semerdjian.
Friday April 2, 2010
at the Bowery Poetry Club
308 Bowery (Between Houston and Bleecker)
Subways: F train to 2nd Ave, 6 to Bleecker
This specially-produced version of Gartal includes contemporary poets who hail from various national backgrounds, cite numerous literary influences, and deal with issues of war, loss of parents, self-definition through relationships and sexuality, and other urban global realities.
Nancy Agabian is the author of Princess Freak (Beyond Baroque), a collection of poems and performance texts, and the memoir Me as her again: True Stories of an Armenian Daughter (Aunt Lute), a Lambda Literary Award finalist for LGBT Nonfiction. She is one of the tri-authors of (An)daratsutian Mej (In the [Un]Space), an experimental book in English, French and Armenian. Her nonfiction has appeared in Ararat, The Brooklyn Rail, Perigee and Women Studies Quarterly and the anthologies Homelands (Seal Press) and Forgotten Bread (Heyday Books). Her poems appear in Birthmark (Open Letter Press), Deviation (Inknagir) and numerous journals. A Fulbright scholar to Armenia for 2006-07, she is working on a nonfiction novel on personal freedom in post-Soviet Armenia. She teaches writing at Queens College and NYU and has been coordinating Gartal since 2002. http://nancyagabian.com
Tina Demirdjian’s first book IMPRINT was published by Abril Publishing in 2003 thanks to a grant from the City of Glendale as well as a grant from the Durfee Foundation. A selection of Demirdjian’s works have also appeared in Aspora, Ararat International Journal, the Los Angeles Times, High Performance, Midwest Poetry Review, the Texas Observer, and in Birthmark: a bi-lingual anthology of Armenian-American poetry published in 1999. She is the recipient of three honorable mentions from the Arroyo Arts Collective’s Poetry in the Windows contests and two consecutive Artist in Resident grants from the City of Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs. She has taught poetry in schools, libraries, and community centers throughout Los Angeles since 1991.
Armine Iknadossian’s poems are forthcoming in Pearl and Rhino, and have appeared in Arbutus, Backwards City Review, Common Ground Review, Margie, Spout, Weave and Zaum. She earned a graduate degree in poetry from Antioch University, Los Angeles, after having received her undergraduate degree with an emphasis in creative writing from UCLA. She teaches English, journalism, and poetry recitation to high school students in Pasadena. In 2008, she was awarded a Returning Fellow position at Summer Poetry in Idyllwild.
Lola Koundakjian's poems have appeared online on Groong and in print in the Armenian Weekly. She has served on the board of Ararat Literary Quarterly and freelanced for the Armenian Reporter and the Armenian Weekly. Lola runs the Dead Armenian Poets’ Society, a salon series, and the Armenian Poetry Project website. She will be reading her work in Armenian at the 20th international poetry festival in Medellin, Colombia, July 2010.
Shahé Mankerian, poet, playwright, and the principal of St. Gregory A. & M. Hovsepian School, received his MA in English (emphasis in Poetry) from California State University, Los Angeles. In 2003, he won both the Erika Mumford Prize and the Daniel Varoujan Award from the New England Poetry Club. Edifice Wrecked nominated his poem “She’s Hiding My Keys” for the 2004 Pushcart Prize. In 2006, he co-authored the play “Little Armenia,” which debuted at Hollywood’s prestigious Fountain Theatre. Last year, his short story “Parable” placed Second Runner-up and his nonfiction piece “Tracks” was the Finalist for the 2008 William Saroyan Society Centennial Prize for Short Fiction and Creative Nonfiction.
An internationally acclaimed writer, poet, and photographer, Amir Parsa is the author of ten books, including Kobolierrot, Divan, Drive-by Cannibalism in the Baroque Tradition, Erre and the multilingual L’opéra minora. An uncategorizable body of work, Mr. Parsa’s oeuvre – written in English, French and Persian – has been presented and debated in galleries and museums, in streets and on rooftops, in broad daylight and in hiding, and at various festivals, events and curated venues around the world. He currently lives in NY, where he directs creative education projects at MoMA and is a Visiting Associate Professor at Pratt Institute.
Writer/musician Alan Semerdjian’s poems and essays have appeared in several print and online publications and anthologies including Chain, The Lyric Review, Adbusters, Arson, Ararat, and Diagram. He released a chapbook of poems called “An Improvised Device” (Lock n Load Press) in 2005 and his first full-length book In the Architecture of Bone (GenPop Books) in 2009. His songs have appeared in television and film and charted on CMJ. Alan has performed and read all over North America. He currently teaches English at Herricks High School in New Hyde Park, NY, writes a monthly column for the LI Pulse, and resides in the east village. You can visit Alan's digital homes at alanarts.com and alansemerdjian.com.
Alene Terzian received and M.A. and an M.F.A. in Creative Writing with an emphasis in poetry. Her first book, Deep as City’s Ache, explores the Lebanese Civil Conflict both environmentally and psychologically, emphasizing the humanistic elements of war. She is currently working on her second collection while teaching English at College of the Canyons. Besides teaching, she is also the advisor of COC’s literary magazine called cul-de-sac; volume three was newly released to the public, showcasing the fiction, poetry, photography, and artwork of the talented students on campus. Her poems have appeared in Media Cake, Lit Parlor/Lit Lounge, Literati Cocktail, Colorado Review, Poetic Diversity, The Armenian Poetry Project, Rhapsodomancy, In the Web, and Life after Life. She was recently elected poet laureate of Altadena, CA.
ABOUT ARMENIAN POETRY PROJECT
The Armenian Poetry Project (http://armenian-poetry.blogspot.com), curated and produced by Lola Koundakjian in New York, is an online resource which provides free audio and text RSS feeds on the internet and podcasts on Apple’s iTunes. Lola researches and records poems in Armenian, English and French, including works written from the late 19th century to the present. Famous, budding and obscure poets from all over the world can be found amongst the over 900 entries posted since 2006.
Since 2002, Gartal ("to read" in Armenian) has been an independent forum for both established and emerging writers of Armenian descent and/or writers dealing with culturally related themes to read their poetry, fiction, creative nonfiction and dramatic texts to the public. Coordinated by writer Nancy Agabian, Gartal brings together, via the dual acts of reading and listening, diverse Armenian constituencies, from the progressive to the traditional. A particular effort is made to give voice to Armenian stories that haven't been widely heard, including those of mixed race, various religions, different economic backgrounds, and queer Armenians.