'101 Two-Letter Words'; Photo: W.W. Norton and Company

How a man with the ambition to write 100 love songs as an ‘introduction’ to the world, even if settling on 69, is just now penning his first book is a confounding question for the lyric powers that be. Though somehow the news that it’s a poetry book based on Scrabble – 101 Two-Letter Words (W.W. Norton & Company; October 2014) – makes perfect sense in the sahara dry comedic world of lead Magnetic Fields’ maestro, Stephin Merritt, where “love is like a bottle of gin/but a bottle of gin is not like love.”

“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,” Merritt teased the New York Times. “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.”

Boiled down to four-line poems built upon all the ridiculously acceptable two-letter words only the biggest nerds of Scrabble can sling, so goes a sample of Merritt Dr. Suessing his way into your literate heart, without an instrument, simultaneously crowning himself king of the triple-word score:

The country folk say “howdy-do”
but here in town, it’s “yo”;
they’ll say it in the country too
in twenty years or so