In the space of two collections, Gorse Fires (1991) and The Ghost Orchid (1995), Michael Longley broke a long poetic slience and re-drew the map of poetry at the end of the millenium. The Weather in Japan consolidates and expands the vision of those volumes, leading the reader through the various hells we have made this century. Preferring to see the horrors of political violence through the filter of the domestic, pointing up the fragility of the order we create, he takes us from the fields of Flanders, through Terezin and Auschwitz to the troubled north of Ireland. And, in images drawn from the west of Ireland, Italy, America and Japan, he explores the fundamentals of 'home' and 'civilisation'. Longley's grave humanity, Zen-like connective imagination and ecological eye give the most delicate compelx, beautiful things - a spring gentian, a lapwing or a snowflake - the nutritious light that allows them to grow greater than the crass brutality that surrounds them.