Jason Schneiderman: How a Sonnet Turns: From a Fold to a Helix (January 2020)
Most of us are taught to think of the sonnet as having a two-part structure, built around a turn (in Italian, the volta). And yet that folding motion at the turn is only part of the story. Schneiderman argues that the sonnet’s motion doesn’t turn just once, but rather forms a spiral that carries the reader through. In considering sonnets by Julia Alvarez, William Meredith, Danez Smith, and others, he explores how that spiraling compression makes it a perfect vehicle for exploring internal conflict.