Loyola University Chicago

Department of English

Howard Axelrod

Writer in Residence, Creative Writing Program Director

  • Office Location: Crown Center 477
  • Phone Number: 773.508.8472
  • E-mail: haxelrod@luc.edu


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.  


  • BA, Harvard College (1995)
  • MFA, University of Arizona (2007)

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


  • The Stars in Our Pockets, 2020.
  • The Point of Vanishing, 2015.

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.