The next 9 months were a gestation period for what proved to be a far more intense crisis. My memories of the time are sparse. I know that all through those first few years at college, I puzzled over the conundrum of the poet's role & vocation - the riddle of my future.
I don't remember exactly when I started reading the Revised Standard Version of the Bible, whether it was during that spring semester ('73), or later that summer. I do know I was reading it steadily, beginning to end, during the 5-6 weeks I spent with my brother Jim, working on a ranch in a remote section of Wyoming. After a strenuous day of haybaling, I would stretch out in the bunkhouse we shared with the rancher's feisty 14-yr old son, & read & read.
Looking back on it now, I think that the Bible compensated for my drought of literary reading over the previous several months. I was fascinated with it; I found the long saga's poetry/history/mystery utterly compelling. The Bible was not completely foreign to me, since I'd been brought up in the Episcopalian church; but it had been many years since my confirmation meant anything to me. Now I was soaking up the Good Book through my pores. Three literary effects come to mind as central then: the moral force, the sense of demand that runs through the Mosaic Books, the prophets, the New Testament; the sheer drama of some of the storytelling; and finally, the "chronicle" aspect - the sense that, spun & garbled as it might be, the Bible is a record of vast, so-ancient events.
I went back to school in September, to begin my senior year, feeling invigorated & newly-confident after my summer outdoors in Wyoming. Then the real crisis struck.