Moreover, we often use words figuratively. Figurative language is used in poetry and fiction, as well as in everyday speech. Most people do not think much about the language they use, and even if they do, they do not seem to realize that much of it comprises figures of speech. We use figures of speech all the time, for effect and for emphasis. Here, in the following example, guitarist Frank Zappa describes his love of his instrument:
If ever there's an obscene noise to be made on an instrument, it's going to come out of a guitar. On a saxophone you can play sleaze. On a bass you can play balls. But on a guitar you can be truly obscene... Let's be realistic about this, the guitar can be the single most blasphemous device on the face of the earth. That's why I like it... The disgusting stink of a too-loud electric guitar: now that's my idea of a good time(2) .
This example of ordinary, everyday conversation contains many figures of speech, including metaphor and metonymy. Additionally, if the guitarist commented that his guitar was "singing", then this conversation would incorporate personification as well.
In poetry, however, figures of speech are used deliberately and with the poet's full awareness. The act of bringing words together to create rich and vigorous poetic lines is complex and demanding, chiefly because so many variables working together in such a condensed textual medium as poetry...