Stephin Merritt Plans Scrabble-Inspired Poetry Book

Magnetic Fields frontman Stephin Merritt is the sort of person who you could easily imagine absolutely annihilating you at Scrabble while simultaneously acting very bored and drily making fun of you in ways that you might not notice. He’s also pretty good at putting together words in combinations that convey meaning. So perhaps it shouldn’t be a surprise that Merritt’s first book will be a collection of poetry inspired by Scrabble.

The New York Times reports that Merritt’s book is called 101 Two-Letter Words, and it’s made up entirely of four-line poems, each of them inspired by one of the two-letter words allowed in Scrabble. This is the sort of mathematical precision you’d expect from the person responsible for 69 Love Songs. Roz Chast will contribute color illustrations, and W. W. Norton will publish the book in October.

Emailing with the Times, Merritt says, “My mother is a former English teacher who always expected me to write the Great American Novel, thunderous and profound, so she was not impressed to learn that my first book is going to be amusing light verse. But now that I’ve got her hooked on Words With Friends, she sees the immense value of remembering the two-letter words, and what fascinating little oddities they are, so she’s begging for a copy of the book.”