• MUSIC FOCUS: Machine Gun Kelly, LOLO, Maggie Lindemann and Proper.
  • ACTIVITY FOCUS: Look at how some of these brilliant songwriters use rhyme and then have a go at making use of similar ideas in your own writing.

This lesson works well on its own, but it’s also the third part in our poetry writing series. You may enjoy starting with our Avicii lesson, then looking at structure with Against The Current, Thrice and Amy Winehouse, before then having a go at this class.

Okay, so before writing your poem, have a think about whether it will rhyme or not. Maybe some of it will. Maybe some of it won’t. Complete the activities and then scan through our thoughts towards the end of this class.

You may wish to download the activity 1 sheet.


Read the section from Machine Gun Kelly’s ‘poem’ below. Look at the rhyme: ‘magic’ and ‘panic’. Do these words feel like they belong together? Why? Why not?

What about the ‘outside’/’instead’ pairing. Why don’t these words rhyme? What’s the effect of this kind of ABAC structure?

Taking all the above into account, how is Machine Gun Kelly feeling and how does his use of rhyme emphasise those feelings?

Machine Gun Kelly: Twin Flame

So take me anywhere outside
I cannot kiss you yet, you’re magic
So I’ll just stare at you instead
I get insecure and panic


Sometimes, a poet will write a poem that doesn’t rhyme at all. The two lines below, for example, do not rhyme. Why does the poet – clearly deliberately – decide not to use rhyme? What kind of mood or feeling might a rhyme suggest that would not feel appropriate here?

Proper: jean

And the last time we spoke I was chasing you down for money you owed
I don’t have a rhyme for this, I’m just ashamed


Sometimes a rhyme just sounds great because it’s fun, original and takes you by surprise. This LOLO/Lindemann poem makes use of exactly that kind of rhyme. Think of some words you love – maybe they’ll be words specific to an activity you get up to in your own time (e.g. I cycle every weekend to the museum on my BMX / ‘Cause I love dinosaurs especially the T-Rex). Try coming up with a selection of rhyming couplets. You could even challenge yourself to throw in an extra internal rhyme (like ‘show’ and ‘row’) to keep things sounding especially bubbly!

LOLO & Maggie Lindemann: Debbie Downer

Drain a bottle straight to the face doing hot shit
She’s at the show front row throwing up in the moshpit

Be warned: some edgy material.


Before moving onto the final poetry writing exercise, do scan through our ideas regarding the poems we’ve explored over the course of this lesson. Do they match with yours? Maybe not. But perhaps they’ll be useful.

  1. Perhaps Machine Gun Kelly’s ‘magic’ / ‘panic’ rhyme hints at the direct relationship between those two things. Maybe it’s the ‘magic’ he feels that causes him to ‘panic’ – he is terrified by the thought of losing that ‘magic’. Without the ‘magic’, there would be no ‘panic’ – and the rhyme cements the link between those two words. Often, then, when you look at rhyming words you will notice that they reflect a cause/effect relationship between the words being rhymed.
  2. A rhyme can offer a sense of things fitting together and feeling complete. Clearly, the speaker here feels a great sense of guilt and loss. He does not feel that things fit together. He let his friend down and that makes him feel uncomfortable. Using rhyme could make things feel too comfortable. When they things don’t rhyme, they can feel more awkward and less ‘bouncy’.
  3. Sometimes the main effect of a good rhyme is simply to make a poem feel fun and bouncy. When things rhyme, it feels like things ‘fit’. Perhaps there’s a feeling of happiness in the moment because things ‘match’ – they make sense and, as a result, life feels awesome. (In contrast, when things don’t rhyme – or only sometimes rhyme – perhaps it hints at a loss of control, or a feeling of things not ‘fitting’ or making complete sense).


Now, write your own poem.

In class, we’ve been writing poems that revolve around a message we want to give a family member or friend. Or we’ve been writing a poem about an important message or piece of advice that a family member or friend has shared with us! We took inspiration for our poem from Avicii.

Whatever poem you write, work on the rhyme scheme. Whether you rhyme or not, make sure you’re making your choices for a reason. The poem does not need to be complete. Just make sure you have some rhyme ideas that you can revisit and redraft over the course of the next classes.

Once you’re done, you can send your ideas (or questions) in. We want to publish the most exciting writing and offer advice.

Or have a go at writing about your experiences as a teenager with a little help from the inspirational Taylor Swift!