What is a Diamante?

An examination of the history, form and use of the Diamante, a type of concrete or shape poetry.

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Diamante are a form of concrete poetry, in which the poem forms the shape of a diamond.

History

The Diamante was first established as a form in the 1969 article ‘A New Poetry Form: The Diamante’ by Iris Tiedt.

In the past, forms tended to evolve from musical concepts, or were championed by key poets who saw the form spread. In the modern era, however, a form can merge from a single poet who suggests the idea. This is also shown by the emergence of the Fib and the Golden Shovel.

Form

The Diamante has seven lines, arranged in a specific fashion. The first line has a single noun, while the second line features two adjectives that describe the noun in the first line. Line three follows this with three verbs and line four features four nouns. After this, the lines invert: three verbs, two adjectives, one noun.

Noun
adjective adjective
verb verb verb
noun noun noun noun
verb verb verb
adjective adjective
noun

When centrally aligned, this forms a concrete poem in a diamond shape on the page.

Within the form there are two variations: a Synonym Diamante and an Antonym Diamante. The opening and closing nouns of a Synonym Diamantes both essentially mean the same thing at the start and end of the poem, while in Antonym Diamantes they should be opposites.

Use

The Diamante is used to either explore a topic or to draw parallels between two contrasting subjects. It is a great tool for teaching children the elements of language as well as pushing their vocabulary.

Connor Sansby is a Margate-based writer, editor, poet and publisher through his super-indie Whisky & Beards publishing label.

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