Over forty-five years have elapsed since Derek Mahon anunced his arrival at the forefront of Irish literary life with the release of Night-Crossing, but he remains an elusive figure. In the first comprehensive biography of Ireland's greatest living poet, Stephen Enniss uncovers a remarkable personal story. Here he establishes the life circumstances which stimulated or provoked Derek Mahon into poetic response, detailing for the first time his troubled upbringing in Belfast, his youthful suicide attempt and his decades-long struggle with alcoholism. He sets Mahon's poems against these personal struggles and in doing so reconnects the work to the life while also making a compelling case for the restorative power of art. Based on extensive archival research, interviews with Mahon himself, his family members, classmates, colleagues and others he is closely associated with, After the Titanic sheds new light on some of Ireland's best-loved poetry. While Mahon is the central figure, the book also contributes to our understanding of the other giants of Irish poetry who came of age with him in the 1960s, Seamus Heaney and Michael Longley. 'Derek Mahon is one of our greatest lyric poets; for all those who love his work, After the Titanic will be required reading.' Nicholas Grene, Professor of English Literature, School of English, Trinity College, 'Mahon is the most elegant yet daring poet of his generation, as this book reveals.' John Montague
Stephen Enniss is Director of the Harry Ransom Center at the University of Texas in Austin. His academic career includes previous posts as Head Librarian at the Folger Shakespeare Library and Director of Emory University's Manuscript, Archives, and Rare Book Library where he had curatorial responsibility for the archives of many of Ireland's finest contemporary poets. He completed his undergraduate studies at Davidson College, before earning a Master's degree at Emory and a Ph.D. in English from the University of Georgia. He is the recipient of a Leverhulme Trust fellowship which provided important support for this research.