Eminem Earns Poet Heaney's Praise

By | July 1, 2003 at 12:00 AM

Irish poet and Nobel laureate Seamus Heaney has praised the lyrical talents of controversial American rapper Eminem, saying he has a “verbal energy.”

Eminem, who has been condemned by gays for homophobic lyrics and labeled a misogynist by women’s groups, “sent a voltage round a generation,” Tuesday’s Daily Telegraph reported Heaney as saying.

The former Professor of Poetry at Oxford University was speaking in Norwich when asked by journalists whether there was a figure of popular culture who aroused interest in poetry and lyrics like the musicians Bob Dylan and John Lennon used to.

The 1995 Nobel laureate said: “There is this guy Eminem. He has created a sense of what is possible.

“He has sent a voltage around a generation. He has done this not just through his subversive attitude but also his verbal energy.”

The rap star, who in the past 12 months has topped the movie and album charts in both America and Britain, won an Academy Award in March for the best movie theme song for “Lose Yourself” from his semi-autobiographical film “8 Mile.”

Eminem won critical acclaim for his portrayal of an up-and-coming rapper struggling to make it out of Detroit’s tough streets.