The second edition of Nigerian literary magazine Márọkọ́ is up and titled Here and Now after the anthology by LIPFest writers within. Featuring a range of poetry, essays, and photography, the new issue stuns readers with every word.

Márọkọ́ Magazine is named after the thriving migrant community east of the Lagos Lagoon who were violently evicted in the early 90s to make way for one of the most expensive real estate strips in the world. Márọkọ́ renders the rough hewn beauties and joys that connect pan-African and pan-diasporic experiences, in poetry, prose, visual art, and photography, tracing a contemporary canon across the contours of black urban life.

In this sophomore issue, Márọkọ́ features poetry from João Melo, Ismail Bala, Onyekachi Illo, Sodïq Oyèkànmí, and others, with prose from Chinonso Nzeh, Ehae Longe, and Osione Abokhai. The issue also includes a Kwame Dawes profile by Darlington Chibueze, a review of Romeo Oriogun’s award winning Nomad by Emmanuel Esomnofu and an embedded anthology of poems and essays from the 2023 Lagos International Poetry Festival’s Here and Now residency, featuring new and exclusive work from Amanda Thomson, Alycia Pirmohamed, Chika Jones, Edwige Renée-Dro, Heather Parry, and Tolu Agbelusi.

The cover image, featuring a sandy shore with a sunset background, is by Eric Atie with design by Obii Ifejika.

Read the editor’s note by Dami Ajayi below:

Last year, when I served as the guest editor for the inaugural edition of Márọkọ́, I thought I had checked that box on my bucket list and moved on to other things. But if you keep my kind of company, that is, loiter around creative entrepreneurs (a euphemism for literary activists/evangelists, really), you may be drawn back with an offer you cannot refuse.

Efe Paul Azino is smooth at dropping hints. We were having a late lunch on the patio of an Italian restaurant in Queens, watching hard-working New Yorkers return home from work, when he suggested that I might be a likely candidate to edit the second issue of Márọkọ́. I was giddy with wine and exceptionally pleased with my medium well rib-eye steak that afternoon in June, so I said yes, why not! Staying awake this weekend to edit Márọkọ́ II to meet the deadline, I have reflected on my response while listening to Thelonius Monk’s Blue Monk on repeat, and I am glad once again that I offered my services to Márọkọ́, Lagos Poetry International Festival, and the vibrant corpus that is literature.

Literature is the sacred place of language where we commune with and interrogate the intangible aspects of our ancestry and humanity. I find the theme of this year’s festival, Sanctuary, particularly apt. We need to make spaces for this kind of celestial experience in light of what is happening in the Middle East and Eastern Europe. We also need to put ourselves forward as stewards in the vineyard of literature for the lack of a better expression.

At the core of the year’s issue is the Here and Now anthology, a collection of poems and essays resulting from a two-city residency that traversed the Scottish Highlands and Accra, and berthed in Lagos, a strong collaboration between LIPFest and Moniack Mhor (Scotland’s National Writing Center), and a rich and powerful opener that bears up the delightful sophomore return of Márọkọ́.

Read the full issue here.