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What Is a Diamante?

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  • Written By: Tricia Ellis-Christensen
  • Edited By: O. Wallace
  • Last Modified Date: 18 August 2014
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The diamond poem, which is also called a diamante, is a relatively new form of poetry. Many credit Iris Tiedt with its development in the late 1960s. Due to the short nature of the poems, the fact that they create a pleasing diamond shape, and the fact that they enhance knowledge of language through specific word choice, many children will learn to write these poems as early as upper elementary school. Even without terrific poetic gifts, it can be fun to compose a diamante.

In addition to studying shape, these poems study contrast. The first word of the poem, which is a noun, should be near opposite to the last word, and both of these lines are one-word lines. Line two uses two adjectives to modify the noun in line one, and line three is made up of three verbs that end in ing, and modify line one’s noun.

Line four of a diamante is an interesting mix of four nouns. The first two should refer to the first word of the poem and the second two refer to the last word, transitioning the poem to the opposite concept. This in then followed in line five by three more participles (ing verbs), in line six by two more adjectives, and in line seven by the final noun.

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With pencil or pen or paper, it’s fairly easy to make the diamante appear diamond shaped. Yet word length choice can cause slightly irregularity in appearance. When typing a diamante, it may not even be recognized as such, unless a person centers the poem. The characteristic diamond or parallelogram form should thus appear.

Writing a diamante can draw on use of vocabulary and on knowledge of grammar. These are often topics being introduced to third through sixth graders. Of course the greater the vocabulary, the more likely these poems will be successful, not just as a language exercise but also as a poetic one. Ease at which these poems can be produced has sometimes been criticized by poets as making the poems of less value. In addition to that, subject matter must be limited to contrasting material.

Nevertheless, it can be fun to compose one of these, even if they are not high art. The example below serves as inspiration to try one out, and as proof that they can be quickly composed.

Ignorance
Paltry, Confused
Grasping, Slipping, Impoverishing
Blindness, Poverty, Sight, Riches
Seeing, Thinking, Knowing
Mindful, Clear
Wisdom

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CarrotIsland
Post 5

@manykitties2- I also do not remember any kind of diamante poem in school. Perhaps that tells our age! However, my son is an upcoming poet and thinks it is ridiculous that I had not heard of it!

indemnifyme
Post 4

@strawCake - I don't remember doing diamante poems in school either. However, I did see some as part of an art exhibition awhile back.

The exhibition was all about the written word, so all the artwork incorporated some form of poetry. In addition to the poetry most of the pieces incorporated some form of painting, photography or sculpture to illustrate the words. It was really interesting and unique.

strawCake
Post 3

When I was in school I remember doing haiku poems and then sonnets later on. I always thought haiku's were very easy and sonnets were very difficult!

I can't believe it, but I've never heard of a diamante poem until now. One of my friends is an English teacher and I'm going to ask him if he does these with his students. If he doesn't, I'm going to urge him to start. They seem fun!

manykitties2
Post 2

I remember doing diamante poems back when I was in elementary school. Our one English teacher really loved making us create diamante poems because of the way they looked and how easy it was to turn a few poems into a cute book.

I think I may actually have my diamante book laying around somewhere, though I shudder to think about the quality of poetry my 10 year old self was writing. I can't imagine my vocabulary was that good back then.

Does anyone else remember making diamante poems while in school?

I vaguely remember also doing things like haiku and shape poems, as well as some free form poetry. I really think it was just an excuse for our teacher to have some fun.

Sara007
Post 1

For those with kids who are struggling to expand their vocabulary making diamante poetry can be a fun exercise that lets them not only work on their creativity but their English skills as well.

A good idea is to arm your kids with a thesaurus and some great examples. You can actually find numerous samples of diamante poetry online, though it should be screened for content before you show your kids.

If your kids are having trouble coming up with opposing words to start and finish their poems, you can find lists of antonyms online. This could be a good starting point. Since the lists online are exhaustive you may just want to select a dozen or so you think are appropriate and print those out.

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