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A volta is a dramatic turn in a poem. It is the moment at which the perspective of a poem shifts, either summarizing the poem or startling the reader into a new way of perceiving what has come before.

The volta is often accompanied by a change in rhyme scheme.

In Elizabethan Sonnets, the volta generally happens at the very end of the poem. After three ABAB quatrains, the sonnet ends with a heroic couplet, and the volta generally occurs at the couplet.

In Italian Sonnets, the volta generally happens at line 9. The first eight lines make up the octave, and the last six lines make up the sestet, and the perspective changes there.

Although this is a general rule for Italian Sonnets, it is not adhered to strictly; some Italian Sonnets have the volta much later.

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