Nobel Prize-winning poet gives props to Eminem. Seamus Heaney praises the rapper's ''subversive attitude'' and ''verbal energy''

By Gary Susman
Updated July 01, 2003 at 04:00 AM EDT

If his recent Oscar for ”Lose Yourself” hadn’t already made it clear, here’s further proof that Eminem is no longer the controversial shocker he once was. No less an authority on rhyme than Seamus Heaney, the Nobel Prize-winning Irish poet, is a fan, according to London’s Daily Telegraph.

Asked during a recent lecture whether there was anyone in contemporary pop culture who sparked interest in lyrics and verse the way Bob Dylan and John Lennon once did, the 64-year-old Nobel laureate reportedly answered, ”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.”

For his part, Eminem was rumored to have responded that he thought Heaney’s verse was ”dope,” that he especially appreciated the influence of Dante on Heaney’s collection ”Station Island,” and that he hoped one day soon to record a collaboration between Heaney and 50 Cent.