Wednesday, May 17, 2017

DMC: "The Act of Writing" by Elizabeth Steinglass


You let go
of your trapeze.
You’re flying
over everything—
the crowd, the clowns,
the dancing dogs.
It all looks different
from above,
but now you’re wondering
where’s the bar
you’re supposed to grab?
Can you get from here to there,
flip and twist through open air
with nothing more
than words?
Will the people down below
follow your rise, your rhyme, your spin,
feel the fear, the awe, you feel?
Or will you fall?
Will you land on your back
on a web of string,
bounce up high and find your feet,
and climb the ladder
once again?

© 2017 Elizabeth Steinglass. All rights reserved.

Click HERE to read this month's interview with Melissa Manlove, Senior Editor at Chronicle Books. Her DMC challenge is to write a poem that explores how writing (or a book) is like something else.

Post your poem on our May 2017 padlet. While some contributions will be featured as daily ditties this month, all contributions will be included in a wrap-up celebration on Friday, May 26th. Two lucky participants will win a book published by Chronicle earlier this year: LOVING VS. VIRGINIA by Patricia Hruby Powell, illustrated by Shadra Strickland, or LOVE IS by Diane Adams, illustrated by Claire Keane.


  1. You build such wonderful suspense, Liz, and I LOVE the ending. The fear of writing is real, for sure, but the ability to bounce back, to keep practicing, to keep trying to hit that mark... that's the greatest feat of all.

  2. Thanks, Michelle. For a little while the poem ended with "Will you fall?" but I kept picturing the trapeze artist and the net, and I realized I keep coming back even when I fall.

  3. I love the flying, the rise, then the fall and back again, Liz. Good questions for a writer's wondering.

  4. I love "flip and twist through open air with nothing more than words." Such a daunting task -- but magical, too.

  5. Ta DA! You did it! Such a great description of what it feels like. Nicely done. I especially like the questions....will people fallow or will you land on your back? You just never know ahead of time!

  6. Writing as a trapeze act! Perfect! Do you dare climb that ladder again?

  7. I love it. This is a perfect description.

  8. "Will the people down below
    follow your rise, your rhyme, your spin,
    feel the fear, the awe, you feel?"

    Great words--I never feel like I'm able to exactly convey emotions/ideas exactly the way I want.

  9. You always "bounce up high and find your feet", Liz! I live this metaphor - queasy stomach and all. Great job. =)