Three thoughts on its use in poetry

(1) The significant detail is “metonymic”. In other words, even if we didn’t already know what the whole was, that detail would suggest it, as in the “greasy jeans” and “picking and pecking at life” of Colleen Thibaudeau’s poem about the rural poverty-stricken Brown family.

(2) Create “value-added” detail. Instead of settling for a word that just says what you mean, pick one that adds a sensuous or metaphoric dimension. For example, replacing “shows” with “illuminates” adds the dimension of light.

(3) There are two kinds of particularity: particularity that reverberates with the universal, and particularity that dwindles into the merely private.