Sections

Yo! Magnetic Fields frontman pens book on two-letter Scrabble words

Brooklyn Daily
Share on TwitterTweet
Share on Facebook
Subscribe

Don’t miss our updates:

Good Scrabble words come in small packages.

Stephin Merritt is best known as the frontman of long-running indie-pop band the Magnetic Fields. But song lyrics aren’t the only words he is excited by — the musician has just published a book that pays homage to the smallest playable words in Scrabble: two-letter words.

“All the sex, money, and power in Scrabble lies in the two-letter words,” said Merritt.

Merritt will give a reading from his short read, “101 Two-Letter Words,” at PowerHouse Arena in Dumbo on Oct. 21. He said the idea for the book — which contains a four-line poem and an illustration for each of the words — came about while he was on tour and trying to bone up on the Scrabble-inspired smartphone game Words With Friends during his down time.

“I wasn’t very good at it because I didn’t know all of the two-letter words,” he said. “So I started writing my own mnemonic devices to remember them.”

Two-letter words are key to winning the game, because they allow a player to more easily put down multiple words on a single turn, Merritt explained.

“You need to know your two-letter words,” he said.

To help readers remember them even better, each poem has a drawing by New Yorker cartoonist Roz Chast to create a visual memory cue. This is just good common sense to Merritt.

“It never occurred to me not to have the illustrati­ons,” he said.

Merritt, who once had a studio space near the Williamsburg Bridge, said he does not have a favorite two-letter word, but he does have a favorite poem based on one.

“My poems are like my children,” he said. “So I only like the first one.”

And that is “aa,” which is a type of lava.

“There are two kinds of lava: aa / and pahoehoe / Aa is more jagged, and / pahoehoe flowy,” the poem reads.

The PowerHouse Arena reading will include a discussion of the book with local author Emma Straub, who is also Merritt’s Words With Friends buddy.

Stephin Merritt reads from “101 Two-Letter Words” at PowerHouse Arena [37 Main St. between Water and Plymouth streets in Dumbo, (718) 666–3049, www.powerhousearena.com]. Oct. 21 at 7 pm. Free.

Posted 12:00 am, October 15, 2014
Reach reporter Matthew Perlman at (718) 260–8310. E-mail him at mperlman@cnglocal.com. Follow him on Twitter @matthewjperlman.
Today’s news:
Share on TwitterTweet
Share on Facebook
Subscribe

Don’t miss our updates:

Reader feedback

Enter your comment below

By submitting this comment, you agree to the following terms:

You agree that you, and not BrooklynDaily.com or its affiliates, are fully responsible for the content that you post. You agree not to post any abusive, obscene, vulgar, slanderous, hateful, threatening or sexually-oriented material or any material that may violate applicable law; doing so may lead to the removal of your post and to your being permanently banned from posting to the site. You grant to BrooklynDaily.com the royalty-free, irrevocable, perpetual and fully sublicensable license to use, reproduce, modify, adapt, publish, translate, create derivative works from, distribute, perform and display such content in whole or in part world-wide and to incorporate it in other works in any form, media or technology now known or later developed.

Classifieds
Community News Group

Don’t miss out!

Stay in touch with the stories people are talking about in your neighborhood:

Optional: Help us tailor our newsletters to you!