WILD NATURE POETRY AWARD competition now open.

Louisa Adjoa Parker is a writer of English and Ghanaian heritage, who has lived in the west country for most of her life. She writes poetry, fiction, Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) history, and articles. Louisa also works as an equality, diversity and inclusion consultant, and is co-director of The Inclusion Agency.  


Louisa’s first poetry collection, Salt-sweat and Tears and pamphlet, Blinking in the Light were published by Cinnamon Press. Louisa’s work has appeared in many publications including Wasafari; Ink, Sweat & Tears; Envoi; Under the Radar; Out of Bounds (Bloodaxe); Closure (Peepal Tree Press); and New Daughters of Africa (Myriad Editions). She has been highly commended by the Forward Prize and shortlisted by the Bridport Prize. She has completed her first short story collection and is finishing her first novel.


Louisa has written books/exhibitions exploring BAME history in the south west. During 2018-2019 she was a New Talent Immersion Fellow for South West Creative Technology Network, and produced a podcast and blog telling the stories of BAME people in rural Britain today. Louisa has written for magazines including Resurgence & Ecologist Magazine; Gal-dem; Skin Deep; Black Ballad; and Media Diversified.





138 x 216mm


70 pages


£9.99 + P&P UK


ISBN 978-1-910834985












How to wear a skin


Louisa Adjoa Parker



Louisa Adjoa Parker’s latest collection is an exploration of identity. Mostly set in south west England, Parker explores themes including place, race, friendship, motherhood, love, and loss, as well as what’s happening in society today. She takes inspiration from her own story and the imagined stories of others – a boy at a train station; a woman with a tattoo – and weaves them together in her quest to understand our place in a beautiful, yet fractured world.




How to Wear a Skin asks, what does it mean to grow up mixed-race in a rural English town? As women, how do we raise our children in a hostile environment? Poignant, direct and politically articulate, Louisa Adjoa Parker is that rare poet who writes with simple, bell-like clarity, yet manages to capture the delicate nuance of the complexity around identity and place.

Karen McCarthy Woolf




Beach Huts


Next to bone-white huts

in the half-dark, where red and green lights


strung like necklaces, hang

against the sky, I want to tell the woman


with the little boy who trails behind her,

while she calls out Charlie


every now and then as though the word

will reach out, wrap itself around him


like rope; pull him close, I want to say

I lived here once, I lived here, me.




Take Back Control



Take children from their mothers

wrap them in chains and brand their skin.

Take half the world and wash it pink.

Take history, take lives.

Take racism and smash it into chips.

Take gold, take spices, land.

Take food and let them starve.

Take the best bits of other people’s cultures.

Take race and slice it thinly into cards.  

Take truth and replace it carefully with lies.



Back to a golden age, a glorious time

of Pakistani-bashing, the stampede

of Doctor-Martened feet, shaved heads

and swastikas; of making England great again.

Back to a time of waving flags,

shouting Go Home to anyone who looks

as though they might be foreign.

Back to a time before political correctness

went mental, and stitched good English lips

with silence, so they had to preface

every sentence with I’m not a racist, but…

Back to a time before England –

like a sober friend –

laid her hand on forearms

in pubs across the land,

said with a pained smile and shake

of her head, Bruv, not cool. Not cool at all.



Control the borders! Build a wall

so we can keep them out. Control

the hordes, the floods, the swarms,

the waves of foreigners who wash ashore

our island. Control the welfare state!

Do not give money to the undeserving.

Control the immigrants

who run around like cockroaches

with pincer hands and dark-shined bodies

taking things that don’t belong to them

– our jobs, our homes, our way

of life – to their filthy, vermin nests.

it ends like this


             he wonders why he hadn’t known

        but perhaps he did

perhaps the heart of him has always known      

             it ends like this  

        him splayed out on the sidewalk like a giant fish

beached on grey sand             as a ring of people

watch it flap its tail          watch it drowning in the air          

      it ends like this         him face-down on a bed of concrete          

his tomb             his only view of shoes and legs

listening to the voices of white men hungry for his blood

as they poke their fingers          into the soft folds of his flesh

               the grandsons of the men who strung

trees with his forebears as though they were lanterns

it ends like this           with men pressing the breath from him          

             an arm wrapped around his throat        

                           like a lover’s final embrace

         it ends like this          him choking out the words

I can’t breathe      I can’t breathe      I can’t breathe




Land, Real and Imagined


Yes, I am from here, really,

but also from there. My feet

connect me to this piece of earth

which rolls away in green waves,


this piece of earth inhabited

by people who do not look like me.

This is how I wear my skin:

it tells the story of another place;


an imagined country

with dusty roads, hot nights,

which I have yet to see.

We all lean into the dark


towards our ancestors, who lean

towards us, with bent spines,

trying to tell us where we are from,

where we are going.



Love, Ending


Love ends how it begins.

The suddenness startles you

like the wingtips of a late-home bird

brushing your cheek in the dark.


Love, when it comes, spills across,

fills your world like rising seas.

Now it has gone, there is no bright star

out there, loving you, carrying

your heart in theirs.


Like tides, love quickly retracts

– cold water moving over stones.

Whereas once it flooded you,

now the shore is empty

and in the quiet, seagulls cry a name.

9781910834985 Louisa Adjoa Parker amend