Concept

Volta (literature)

Summary
The volta, or turn, is a rhetorical shift or dramatic change in thought and/or emotion. Turns are seen in all types of written poetry. In the last two decades, the 'volta' has become conventionally used as a word for this, stemming supposedly from technique specific mostly to sonnets. 'Volta' is not, in fact, a term used by many earlier critics, when they address the idea of a 'turn' in a poem, and they generally are not discussing the sonnet form. It is a common Italian word more often used of the idea of a time or an occasion than a turnabout or swerve. Terminology The turn in poetry has gone by many names. In "The Poem in Countermotion", the final chapter of How Does a Poem Mean?, John Ciardi speaks thus of the "fulcrum" in relation to the non-sonnet poem "O western wind" (O Western Wind/when wilt thou blow/The small rain down can rain//Christ! my love were in my arms/and I in my bed again): 'The first two lines are a cry of anguish to the western wind (in England, the w
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