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A Bit of an Ice Breaker

by James Nash

'The taxi driver thinks I’m a bouncer. It’s the third time this week.'

A Bit of an Ice Breaker is a selection of the very best poetry from acclaimed Leeds-based writer James Nash. The poet has sifted through his first two collections, Deadly Sensitive and Coma Songs, and chosen some particular favourites to be made available (for the first time) in ebook form - along with a sprinkling of recently commissioned, previously uncollected work.

In their new, less crowded incarnation, Nash’s poems speak clearly of his interests and obsessions; these are writings of comic embarrassment, of close relationships, of birth and death. Vulgarity sits close to tender love poems, poetry is discussed with taxi-drivers, while no-one protests at drunken sexual activity in a crowded north Leeds sitting room.

From the author's introduction: 'Though some of the poems selected might be, like me, showing their age a little, I hope, as always, that the words are enough.'


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.


Edition: Kindle exclusive

Date Published: 2012-04-12

ISBN: 9781908853479

Catalogue Number: VP0028

Number of Pages: 40

Cover design by Jamie McGarry

Cover photograph by Kevin Hickson

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