Not exactly poetry, but I like his writing. From A Piece of Monologue:
‘T. S. Eliot worked for a bank. Wallace Stevens and Franz Kafka worked for insurance companies. In their own unique ways Eliot and Stevens and Kafka suffered no less than Poe or Rimbaud. There is no dishonour in electing to follow Eliot and Stevens and Kafka. His choice is to wear a black suit as they did, wear it like a burning shirt, exploiting no one, cheating no one, paying his way. In the Romantic era artists went mad on an extravagant scale. Madness poured out of them in reams of delirious verse of great gouts of paint. That era is over: his own madness, if it is to be his lot to suffer madness, will be otherwise – quiet, discreet. He will sit in a corner, tight and hunched, like the robed man in Dürer’s etching, waiting patiently for his season in hell to pass.’
J. M. Coetzee, ‘Youth’
And another quote on Coetzee that I liked:
“Coetzee,” says the writer Rian Malan, “is a man of almost monkish self-discipline and dedication. He does not drink, smoke or eat meat. He cycles vast distances to keep fit and spends at least an hour at his writing-desk each morning, seven days a week. A colleague who has worked with him for more than a decade claims to have seen him laugh just once. An acquaintance has attended several dinner parties where Coetzee has uttered not a single word.”
New Statesman, October 25, 1999
He sounds prickly. I like prickly people.