How to Write a Diamante Poem

What is a Diamante?

A diamante – pronounced dee-uh-MAHN-tay – is an unrhymed seven-line poem. The beginning and ending lines are the shortest, while the lines in the middle are longer, giving diamante poems a diamond shape. “Diamante” is the Italian word for diamond, so this poetic form is named for this diamond shape.

Believe it or not, the diamante was invented just 40 years ago. It was created by an American poet named Iris McClellan Tiedt in 1969, and has become very popular in schools.

Also known as a “diamond poem” because of it’s shape, there are two different types of diamantes; synonym diamantes and antonym diamantes.

The Rules of a Diamante

There are just a few rules to writing a diamante:

  1. Diamantes are seven lines long.
  2. The first and last lines have just one word.
    The second and sixth lines have two words.
    The third and fifth lines have three words.
    And the fourth line has four words.
  3. Lines 1, 4, and 7 have nouns.
    Lines 2 and 6 have adjectives.
    Lines 3 and 5 have verbs.

Here’s an easy way to visualize all three rules:

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

In a synonym diamante, the nouns at the beginning and end are two words that mean basically the same thing. In an antonym diamante, the two nouns are opposites. Here are a couple of examples:

Synonym Diamante

In this diamante, the words “Monsters” and “Creatures” mean the same thing, so they are synonyms.

Monsters
Evil, Spooky
Howling, Shrieking, Wailing
Ghosts, Vampires, Goblins, Witches
Flying, Scaring, Terrifying
Creepy, Crawly
Creatures

Antonym Diamante

In this diamante, you might say that the words “Cat” and “Dog” are opposites, or “antonyms,” so this is an antonym diamante.

Cat
Gentle, Sleepy
Purring, Meowing, Scratching
Whiskers, Fur, Collar, Leash
Barking, Licking, Digging
Slobbery, Playful
Dog

Getting Started

To start writing a diamante, you first need to decide what thing you want to write about. The reason you want to pick a thing is that your first and last lines need to be nouns. In other words, your diamante will be about a noun, such as a “pencil” or a “pizza,” rather than about a verb, such as “jump” or an adjective like “smelly.” An easy thing to write about is something you like or something you see around you.

Next, you’ll want to decide whether you want to write a synonym diamante or an antonym diamante. If you want to write a synonym diamante, you’ll want to select another word that means the same thing as your subject. If you are going to write an antonym diamante, choose a word that is its opposite.

For this example, I will show you how to write an antonym diamante about the “sun,” and my second noun is “moon,” since the sun and the moon can be considered opposites.

Once you’ve chosen your two nouns, take a piece of paper and brainstorm as many words as you can that have to do with each of them. For example, make one column for each word and write down everything you can think of. You’ll want adjectives (descriptive words), verbs (action words), and even more nouns. Your lists should look something like this:

Sun

Moon

Hot Cold
Yellow Silver
Fiery Night
Day Still
Light Orbiting
Blinding Shining
Exploding Beautiful
Distant Crescent
Nuclear

 

Don’t worry if you have more words than you need. It’s better to have too many words to choose from than not enough.

Finally, you’ll want to arrange your diamante, putting the synonyms or antonyms at the top and bottom, the adjectives next, on lines 2 and 6, the verbs after that on lines 3 and 5, and lastly your additional nouns on the middle line.

In the top half of the poem – lines 2 and 3 – your adjectives and verbs should be ones from your first brainstorming column – words that have to do with line 1, like this:

Sun
Fiery, Yellow
Burning, Blinding, Exploding

In the bottom half of the poem – lines 5 and 6 – your adjectives and verbs should be related to the noun on line 7, like this:

Shining, Orbiting, Reflecting
Cold, Silver
Moon

On line 4, the line in the middle of the poem, the first two nouns should be related to the noun on line 1, and the last two nouns should be related to the noun on line 7, like this:

Flame, Light, Night, Crescent

When you put everything together, you’ll end up with something like this:

Sun
Fiery, Yellow
Burning, Blinding, Exploding
Flame, Light, Night, Crescent
Shining, Orbiting, Reflecting
Cold, Silver
Moon

Things to Remember

As you begin writing your own diamantes, here are the important things to remember:

  • Diamantes can be about anything
  • They are 7 lines long
  • The word count is simple: 1, 2, 3, 4, 3, 2, 1
  • Your lines should have: noun, adjectives, verbs, nouns, verbs, adjectives, noun
  • Try to “center” your poem on the page to give it a diamond shape
  • Most importantly, have fun!

ADDITIONAL INFO