"The smallest significant element in a book is, of course, a single word." ~~ Mortimer J. Adler, How to Read a Book
Three pages from How to Read a Book. Adler says that in the early chapters of his book, he was explaining how to break a book down. Now he's going in the opposite direction: starting with the smallest units, the words and terms; then building up to propositions (which are composed of terms) and arguments (which are composed of propositions). Or you can think of it as going from words / phrases, to sentences, to collections of sentences (paragraphs).
Interesting audio descriptions here. (I haven't listened to them all the way through, so no guarantees. I do know that he mentions St. Catherine's vision of her marriage to Jesus, which is just a little...well, okay.)
Poetry: Sidney, "My true love hath my heart"; e.e. cummings, "i carry your heart."