Wednesday, April 24, 2013

National Poetry Month: The Diamante

For people who are intimidated by writing poetry, the diamante poem can be a great format to try first. The diamante is a relatively new form – it was invented in 1969 by poet Iris McClellan Tiedt – that follows a very precise formula. It’s easy to follow, but a working knowledge of parts of speech is required.

Steven Depolo/Flickr

A diamante is seven lines long and shaped like a diamond. In fact, “diamante” means “diamond” in Italian! Each line is made up of words from a particular part of speech:

Adjective, Adjective,
Verb, Verb, Verb,
Noun, Noun, Noun, Noun
Verb, Verb, Verb,
Adjective, Adjective,

And that’s it! When writing a diamante, though, there’s one more choice to make. Some diamantes are called synonym diamantes; this means that the first noun and the second noun are different words for the same thing. For example, here’s a synonym diamante we wrote about brothers and sisters:

Obnoxious, Helpful
Sharing, Arguing, Laughing
Brother, Sister, Enemy, Companion
Teasing, Tickling, Tattling
Irritating, Loveable

Siblings are sort of like friends (at least sometimes…), so that’s why this is considered a synonym diamante. On the other hand, some diamantes start and end with words that have different meanings or associations. As you can probably guess, these are known as antonym diamantes. Here’s an example:

Refreshing, Calm
Sparkling, Flashing, Lapping
Lily pads, Ripples, Seashells, Waves
Roaring, Crashing, Rolling
Salty, Endless

Diamantes are great for kids. Let them pick their own topics, or challenge them to tie their poems into something they’re learning by assigning them to start and finish with words like “Tom” and “Huck,” “element” and “compound,” “cell” and “virus,” “democracy” and “monarchy,” etc. This is a wonderful poetic form – a true gem! 

No comments:

Post a Comment