Last summer in Herbert, at the end of her piano set opening for my Poet Laureate act, Mrs. A., long-time Herbert piano teacher, offered a beautiful bow. I say offer because surely that's what a performer's bow does: acknowledge, submit even--to the audience, without whom the performance means nothing.
Mrs. A. has bowed a thousand times in her lifetime (decades long), I'm guessing. We're used to seeing theatre performers bow also. But not us literary types.
I for one have never bowed, except the other night at a party when I got going on this matter and tried a few out, with ridiculous effect. Maybe it's my three times through the brilliant "The Crown," which is full of bows, at the neck, whenever His/Her Majesty walks by. Forget neck, I want the full half-body forward fold, palms resting above the knees or hanging loose in front.
This is no idle gesture. I learned in Andalusia how performers and audience fulfill mutual needs. I think it's about time the poets got bowing. When I mentioned this at that party the other night, a friend said, "Well you're Poet Laureate. Can't you just make everyone do it?"
I'll start with myself. Every time I do a public presentation, I'll bow--after, maybe before. Starting with Red Hot Riot this Friday in Regina. How low to dip, how long to hold it, what to do with hands and feet and eyes? Drop in and see.