Loyola University Chicago

Department of English


Howard Axelrod

Title/s:  Lecturer

Office #:  Crown Center 477

Phone: 88472



Teaching Philosophy:

In creative writing workshops, we discuss what each piece of writing is promising, and move into a consideration of its means towards those ends.  Rather than focusing on the highest-wattage metaphor or most unlikely dialogue, students learn to train their attention on where promise and execution are most aligned, or where, perhaps, something unbidden in the writing is pulling the piece in another direction.  The goal is not to polish the piece at hand, but to observe mystery and manners in action, and to offer comments, often in the light of our craft talks, on why certain passages and decisions might work or might not.  The general spirit is one of communal exploration, all of us feeling our way through the misty, dazzling, and never fully knowable territory of literature, everyone’s growing personal map contributing to the class’s communal map and vice versa.  


M.F.A., University of Arizona, 2007

B.A., Harvard College 1995

Research Interests

Creative nonfiction, Fiction, Poetry.


The Point of Vanishing, was named one of the best books of 2015 by Slate, the Chicago Tribune, and Entropy Magazine, and one of the best memoirs of 2015 by Library Journal.  It was also recently long listed for the Mass Book Award in nonfiction.

Best American Essays 2016, edited by Jonathan Franzen.  Essay, “Into the Blind Spot,” originally published in VQR, selected as a notable essay.

Massachusetts Cultural Council Fellow, 2016.  Received grant of $12,000.

Selected Publications

Selected Recent Publications:

“Ear to the Battleground,” VQR, Summer Issue 2016.

“New Year’s Loneliness,” Salon, January 2016.

“Two years in the Woods,” Salon, September 2015.

“Into the Blind Spot,” VQR, Fall 2015.


The Point of Vanishing, 2015, Beacon Press.