What techniques, devices, and strategies does Steve Kowit use in his poem "Notice"?

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Poet Steve Kowit uses several techniques, devices, and strategies in his poem "Notice." The poem recounts a time when the speaker of the poem’s jeans, once new, rip at the crotch. It also tells the story of the speaker’s seemingly healthy friend Nick, who passed away unexpectedly. Throughout the poem,...

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Poet Steve Kowit uses several techniques, devices, and strategies in his poem "Notice." The poem recounts a time when the speaker of the poem’s jeans, once new, rip at the crotch. It also tells the story of the speaker’s seemingly healthy friend Nick, who passed away unexpectedly. Throughout the poem, the jeans serve as a metaphor for a human life. The jeans "seemed in the end in perfect condition," yet they rip anyway. Nick, we learn, had just been playing basketball, a vigorous game requiring a certain amount of fitness, when he dropped dead. When Kowit writes, "How or why I don’t know," he could be referring to either the demise of the jeans or the friend.

Another strategy Kowit employs is to make the poem all one long stanza, rather than breaking it up. This serves to reinforce the interconnectivity of his two narrative threads and to lend an air of urgency to what the speaker is recounting. Similarly, Kowit’s line-breaks often work to highlight the seriousness of the message. "For although you may not believe / it will happen," he writes. Kowit allows the reader to pause briefly after "believe," only to go on to the inevitable truth on the following line.

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