All posts by Axel Howerton

Axel Howerton is a former entertainment journalist, and the author of the Arthur Ellis Award nominated detective caper "Hot Sinatra", the modern gothic fairytale "Furr", and the forthcoming "Wolf & Devil" urban fantasy series. His work, including short stories, columns, poetry and essays, have appeared the world over, in no fewer than five languages. Axel is the Prairies director of the Crime Writers of Canada, and a member of the Canadian Science Fiction and Fantasy Association, the Calgary Crime Writers, and the Kintsugi Poets. He is also the editor of the books "Death by Drive-In", "AB Negative", and "Tall Tales of the Weird West", and is the organizer behind one of Canada's first recurring "Noir At The Bar" events, #NoirBarYYC. Visit Axel online at to sign up for the GotHow? email list and receive free exclusive ebook collections, sneak peeks, and more.#AxelHow #GotHow

The Goatsingers Retreat

Many years ago, whilst attempting to further my Post-Secondary Edumacation, I took an Ancient History class that dealt, in part with the Ancient (obviously) Greeks. During this course I was introduced to the idea of the Goat Singer or “tragos-oidos”, a term that would eventually become the English term “tragedy”.

The Goat-Singers were a wild rumpus party dance troupe during early Dionysian Bachannals. They would cavort and frolic to the rythms of the parade band while wearing Goat skins to represent Satyrs (Mythical Man/Goats who partied with Dionysus).

Eventually this became a little stale and an enterprising young Attican poet convinced the leader of the Goat Singers to perform a pre-written dialogue with the band leader, which he would do, gesticulating and hamming it up for the crowd. This was the birth of ‘acting’.

As we all know, the Greeks developed a great love for the theatrical arts that they had developed, and “tragos-oidos” became the term used for the serious (tragic) actors that would stand naked in the Palladium baring their souls for the gathered masses, reciting epic poetry and enacting tales of Gods and Men.

This inspired me to write the following poem, The Goat Singers Retreat, which has become not only one of my favorite poems, but one that I would consider a ‘signature’ work. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

Continue reading The Goatsingers Retreat