The Lollipop Trollops gathers the poems—written over several decades—of Alexander Theroux, one of the most brilliant novelists of our age. It is an uncompromising and explosive volume, a work of astonishing force and variety.
Although written in a genre by which he has been known thus far only to a few, this book but continues what, taken altogether, including his essays, plays, stories, and fables, he understands to be a part of a single vision, the unfolding drama of a mind in action. “Ideas of a certain kind,” writes the author, “thoughts of a certain nap, can properly be expressed in no other way, not merely one-take ideas, rather substances requiring a specific form, the way brandy suitably calls for a snifter, absinthe a drip glass, and champagne an eight-ounce ‘tulip.'”
A variety of voices and visions reflect the alternations of mood, degrees of power, and a broad array of themes, a major one of which remains Theroux’s insistent exploration of the mystery at the heart of the creative process itself. The complex styles, his versatility, incorporates a vast knowledge.
Here are occasional poems that explore secret moments of passion as well as sonnets, simple unadorned lyrics, blank verse, jingles, and, along with some masterful Therouvian “triplets,” much scarifying satire, forms in their plenitude including everything from closed couplets to bold free verse, from the dissonant to the deeply meditative to the elegantly lyrical. There is mad exactness here, great insight, rapier wit.
Theroux has a commanding genius, whether writing of love or sketching a profile or fitting out thoughts like weapons with tips barbed with ferocious signifiers. With his love of words and penetrating way of seeing things like no one else, whether pastoral or political or polemical, he conjures poems out of his fingers like miraculous birds with an instant singing life.