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Cinema Stories

by James Nash, Matthew Hedley Stoppard

‘Blinded by a sudden dawn, we stumble to the doors...’

Paperback temporarily out of stock.

Before the Second World War, there were around seventy cinemas operating in Leeds. Now, though some remain open, most of these ‘forgotten temples’ have been repurposed or demolished.

Since 2014, Leeds-based poets James Nash and Matthew Hedley Stoppard have been visiting the sites of legendary picture-houses, and documenting their current status with two inimitable, unmistakable poetic voices – whilst also considering the remarkable shared (yet personal) experience that is cinema-going.

So sit down on a spring-loaded chair, grab some popcorn, and enjoy one of the most original, evocative poetry collections since the invention of technicolour...

Praise for the authors:

“James Nash illuminates, wonderfully, the small details and the large issues of life, love and language. [He writes] magical and memorable poems: poignant yet rich with humour, and underpinned, above all, by a great humanity.”
Sarah Waters

“Matthew Hedley Stoppard uses inventive language and striking imagery ... [he has written] one of the most arresting poetry collections of the year.”
The Guardian


James Nash was born in London in 1949, and has been a resident of Leeds since 1971. He is a well-known provider of creative writing workshops in schools, universities and the community, and is regularly called on as a host of literary events.

James' first publication with Valley Press was the Kindle-exclusive A Bit of an Ice Breaker: Selected and Uncollected Poems, which collected the best of his writing prior to the 'sonnet era' – so called as, since 2009, James has written almost exclusively in the sonnet form. These were first collected in October 2012 with the release of Some Things Matter: 63 Sonnets, one of the best-selling and most loved VP titles from our first decade of publishing. A second edition in 2014 added a handful of new sonnets, first heard on BBC Radio 3.

James' next publication was Cinema Stories, a collaboration with fellow Leeds-based poet Matthew Hedley Stoppard. Launched at the Leeds International Film Festival in November 2015, this collection celebrated the cinematic heritage of Leeds, and the experience of cinema-going in general. 2018 saw the arrival of A Bench for Billie Holiday: 70 Sonnets, continuing James' love-affair with the 14-line Shakespearean form, this time with a more obviously autobiographical edge to celebrate his 70th year of existence.

A third collection of sonnets, Heart Stones, was published by Valley Press in November 2021.


Matthew Hedley Stoppard was born in Derbyshire in 1985. After a brief career as a journalist, he now works as a librarian, and lives in Otley with his wife and two sons.

Recordings of Matthew’s poetry include Insect Eucharist and Other Poems (2012) and the spoken-word album Runt County (2014), both available from Adult Teeth Recordings. On the page, his poetry has appeared in Magma, Iota, Cake, The Morning Star, A Complicated Way of Being Ignored (Grist, 2012) and Holding Your Hand Through Hard Times (Osset Originals, 2014).

Matthew's debut collection of poetry, A Family Behind Glass, was published by Valley Press in 2013, and was included in the Guardian's Readers' Books of the Year. His next publication was Cinema Stories (2015), a collaboration with fellow Leeds-based poet James Nash, celebrating the movie theatres of Leeds, past and present.

His second solo collection, The Garland King, was published in November 2020.


Edition: Paperback

Date Published: 2015-11-10

ISBN: 9781908853523

Catalogue Number: VP0076

Number of Pages: 56

Cover design by Jamie McGarry

based on a photograph by Kevin Hickson

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