Is “Bullet the Blue Sky” Poetry?

We begin our exploration of poetry with a basic question: What qualities turn a text into a poem?

For this discussion only, we will all examine one poetic text and read it closely to formulate some answers. I have selected U2’s song, “Bullet the Blue Sky,” from their Joshua Tree album and reproduced the lyrics in the following PDF:

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After reading the lectures in Module 4 and browsing Chapter 5, “Writing about Poetry” (pp. 109 – 154 in Literature for Critical Reflection), read the lyrics carefully, and then answer the following questions:

  1. Explain four instances of symbolism and figurative language in the song.
    See Module 4’s lectures for a refresher on symbols and figurative language.
  2. Is “Bullet the Blue Sky” a narrative poem? That is, does it tell a story?
    1. Do you find a protagonist in this song? If so, who?
    2. Do you find an antagonist in this song? If so, who or what is it?
  3. Who is the speaker of the poem?
  4. Who is the speaker addressing?
  5. Is there a central conflict in this song? If so, what is it?
  6. What themes do you find in this song?
  7. How have the songwriters used language to draw the attention of the listeners?

Optional question for anybody with more of a music background who can listen to the song:

How have the songwriters used instrumental sound effects and other musical elements to draw the attention of the listeners?

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