In another, earlier "small sketch" of Robert Lowell as a teacher, Sexton says she studied with him "during the fall of 1958 and the winter of 1959"--she doesn't specify these dates in "The Bar Fly Ought to Sing." In September of 1958, Sexton, who had yet to publish her first book, applied to Lowell's graduate writing seminar at Boston University.
On April 23 she acknowledges that Sexton and Starbuck are having an affair--a fact Sexton would discreetly omit from "The Bar Fly Ought to Sing." Sexton is obviously referring to Starbuck in this quote from a letter to Snodgrass, also written in April: "There is a rather nice poet in Boston who is in love with me.
Plath's letters to Sexton ("I have them now, of course," says Sexton in "The Bar Fly Ought to Sing") are in the Anne Sexton Papers at the University of Texas at Austin.
Sexton admitted in "The Bar Fly Ought to Sing" that she didn't notice in Plath her determination to succeed, to be a "great writer." "I was too determined to bet on myself," Sexton recalled, "to actually notice where [Plath] was headed in her work." After her breakup with Hughes, Plath would begin to develop close friendships with other women, including the poet Ruth Fainlight.
In "The Bar Fly Ought to Sing," Sexton "remember[s] writing to Sylvia in England after The Colossus came out and saying something like: 'if you're not careful, Sylvia, you will out-Roethke Roethke,' and she replied that I had guessed accurately and that he had been a strong influence on her work." (Again, one wonders why these letters have not found their way into print.) In her poem "Sylvia's Death," Sexton refers to Plath as a "funny duchess"--a nod, for sure, to "Duchess of Nothing," a line from one of the excised Roethke-influenced pieces in "Poem for a Birthday."
Channelfly's sales from advertising, sponsorship, music marketing, management services and gate receipts from its Bar Fly
clubs, rose to a record pounds 1.59 million from pounds 1.29 million.