THE ARCHIVAL CITY is the metropolis of marks and traces, where the past whispers through the present and the future is held at bay, where photographs show forgotten faces, where power crouches between the lines of office memos, where parks are built over factory ruins, where dirt is heavy with industrial toxins, where neighborhoods are boarded up, where bedrooms become brick piles, where backstories forget their backstories have backstories, where time is an architectural mishmash and a crisscross of ambition, where evidence is hidden, where injustice shows up red on the map, where fragments in library vaults await our reassembly. THE ARCHIVAL CITY is imprinted with old telephone booths, neon signs, fruit and vegetable stands, commuter crowds, yellow taxis at every corner, livelihoods of lost professions, recipe lists from backyard parties, queer friendships, messy drag shows, sunbathing naked on the lakefront rocks, bars no wider than hallways, and safe spaces with no numbers on the door. THE ARCHIVAL CITY saves street songs, party dresses, protest t-shirts, home movies, speakeasy matchbooks, activist’s sketchpads, postcards to the beloved back home on the farm, old country embroidery, new country invention, love letters saved from the wars.

Slag Glass City, a journal of the urban essay arts, wants to see your stories, speculations, lyrics, and reports of the ephemera of personal and public city histories. WRITE US A CITY made from the material evidence of what came before, the fragments saved from fires, the old household habits that haunt us, the revelations that make or break us, the dead who need our joyful fabulations to bring them back to public view. Slag Glass City publishes nonfiction prose, graphic memoir, video, photography, mixed media, hybrid, and other forms of the essay arts. (We don’t publish poetry or fiction.)

Slag Glass City is a part of the DePaul Publishing Institute at the Department of English and MFA/MA in Writing and Publishing Program. Our online and print publications are free of charge and distributed widely. We are unable to pay contributors, but artists retain all rights, we promote widely, and all work published stays “in-print” online.

The special call for submissions OPENS on March 15th, 2024.


For GENERAL SUBMISSIONS (October through May) Submit to the City at:

Header Image by Eric Mueller.