Arthur Plotnik, Author
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Selections and Samples

Plotnik goes literary

With stories, essays, memoir narratives, and poetry, Arthur Plotnik has been practicing the advice he dares offer in his books and articles on writing.  A select bibliography of published items from 2005 forward, with links, follows the sample below.

I Studied Under Philip Roth

(Appeared in The Cape Rock, Spring 2013)

From that first day

at the Iowa Writers Workshop

we yearned to be the twenty-six-year old

who sidled on to the instructor's desk,

snapped the creases of his chinos

and remarked, "I'm Philip Roth,"

as if we hadn't known.


And who were we?

Literary rubes and wannabes,

all dreams, all italics and ellipsis marks, 

too much telling, not enough showing,

overheated dialogue, labored themes;


talent cowed by genius, here

by virtue of a Sturm und Drang-ish story

showing signs of a keen eye for

life's harsh and shitty ironies.


He---he was the luminosity, awash

in prizes, adulation; droll, soft-spoken,  

his work a paradigm so winning

it mocked our year-long struggles

to become him or even a simulacrum.


And I, so many pages later,

am someone who in cover letters

and his biographical notes declares,

"I studied under Philip Roth"---


which on close examination means

I swam in fear of failure and shame;

that the Iowa horizon, bleak and yellow

in the frigid months, put me in a mortal funk;

that I seethed when classmates published;

that I set a new marriage on its doomed arc;

that I stood with her in Cedar Rapids

listening to the crack of exoskeletons

against a silo smelling of warm grain

and painted like a box of Quaker Oats.

Arthur Plotnik’s literary writings, 2005--
   A select bibliography

“Philip Roth Bats Me In,” poem, Slow Trains, June 2007 (online)

“The Menu Poet,” poem, Harpur Palate 7:1, summer 2007    (print)

“Seams,”  poem, Rambunctious Review 24, 2008; Honorable Mention 2006 Contest

“Stolen Wishes,” poem, Rosebud 43, 2008; Runner-up, William Stafford Award,

“Unabomber and I,” poem, Thema 21:2, summer 2009

“At Gordon Parks's Crib,” poem, Brilliant Corners 14:2, Summer 2010

“Weeping Willow, Move On,” poem, Comstock Review, spring/summer 2010          

“At the Home for Vogue Words,” poem, Comstock Review, Fall/Winter Awards Issue, winter 2011              

“Dwell Time,” short story, Thema 23:1, spring 2011

“Trump—A (Superlative) Legend in His Own Mind,” essay, The Morton Report, May 17, 2011 (online)

“Dwell Time,” Chapter One excerpt from novel. Booth: A Journal, 2011-12; Finalist in 1st Chapter contest.

“Survivng the Unabomber: A Memoir,” Airplane Reading 11/27/11; Featured piece of the week (online)

“How to write a superbissimo thank you note for a mirific, magnanimous gift,” Opinion Page essay, Christian Science Monitor, 1/13/2012. (online).

“Say it ain't so, Phil,” op-ed, Christian Science Monitor Book Section, 11/30/12 (online); reprinted by The Daily Iowan

“I Studied Under Philp Roth,” poem,  The Cape Rock,  summer 2013.

“Close Encounter with My Pants,” memoir, Temenos magazine, fall 2012

“My Mother’s Mattress,” memoir, Narrative Magazine, fall 2012 (online)

“Charting St. John,” poem, San Redro River Review, summer 2013

“Horse-Chestnut in Rut,” poem,  Glass: A Poetry Journal, June 2013 (0nline)

“Securing the Fortress: Notes of a Neighborhood Watcher,” (essay and memoir), The Milo Review, fall 2013  Print and online.

"Monica Before Bolivia," (short story), Split Lip Magazine, Nov-Dec 2013.  Online.

"Composed Upon a Jet Bridge," sonnet, Off the Coast," Fall 2013. Print and online.

"Shards," (short story), awarded Honorable Mention, Glimmer Train September 2013 Fiction Open. (to be published elsewhere)

"Dermot's Question," (long poem), Kindred Magazine, Winter 2013-14.

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