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 offered in his works on writing.  A select bibliography of published items from 2007 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, 2007—

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, anthologized.

“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.

 "Library: The Most Beautiful Word?" essay, American Libraries, spring 2014. online.

"Wrong Turn," memoir, "Mistakes" issue, Creative Nonfiction, fall 2014.

"Nazare," poem, Runner-Up, Blue Lyra Review long poem competition, July 2014. (To be published elsewhere.)

"Precocious," flash fiction, Microfiction Monday, Nov. 3, 2014, online.

"Flat Feet," "Lazy Eye," "On Being Arthur Plotnik," three poems Brickplight, Nov. 2014, online.

"Guest Interview," short story, 2015 Albert Camus Prize runner-up, Red Savinia Review, March 2015, online.  Also, finalist, Walker Percy Prize for Short Fiction of the New Orleans Review 
(withdrawn before final judging owing to earlier acceptance.)

"My Potato Poked: A Pesky Gland Sends a Message," narrative essay,  The Examined Life Journal, spring 2015.

"Sap Rising: A Natural History of Neighborhood." Creative nonfiction.  Mud Season Review #16, January 2016.  Online.

"Two Out of Three" (short story).  A Lonely Riot Magazine, September 2016. Online.

"Bacalhao portugues" (poem).  3elementsreview,  no. 12, fall 2016Online. 

"Blame It on the Sun" ( short story). Into the Void, October 2016 (paper & digital issue).

 

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