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Tue Sep 28, 2021, 04:45 PM

Anne Sexton and Sylvia Plath at the old Ritz Carlton Bar.

Last night someone was asking about things to do in Boston. I wrote in with a suggestion or two and remembered a couple of visits to the fabled Ritz Carlton bar, beloved of old Boston, situated directly on the Public Gardens. I knew the story about Jack Lemmon's mother wanting her ashes stored on the bar but I also knew the hotel had been sold and the name changed. I thought I'd do a little research and found out that the hotel was just recently refurbished and the name changed to the Newbury Hotel, but the beloved bar is still there. I also came across a little anecdote about the poets Anne Sexton and Sylvia Plath going there for a drink.
Today I was out at lunch with my wife, the writer and published poet. I thought I would astonish her with my little factoid but no longer than I had gotten the words out: 'Anne Sexton, Sylvia Plath and Ritz Carlton' than she interrupted me and said: Oh yes. They went there after attending Robert Lowell's lectures on poetry. There were free peanuts!
She then gave me a lesson on both their lives. She thought Anne Sexton was a lousy poet and blamed her for inspiring Sylvia Plath to commit suicide (She knew all the facts about Plath's death and said that she really intended that someone come and save her). I asked her opinion of her as a poet and Sarah said she was a genius. Now my wife writes poetry with the net up: with rhyme and meter. I said: But her poetry doesn't rhyme. And she said: Sometimes it does. And proceeded to recite chapter and verse.
I then told her the story of how as a first semester freshman in college I had talked my way into Richard Wilbur's course on American Poetry which was reserved for 15 seniors and juniors and for the class required essay I had written a 15 page paper on the poetry of Sylvia Plath. I remember I got B+ for the class and that Professor Wilbur (a great poet who also wrote with the net up) annotated my essay with notes that began: I knew Miss Plath well........
At the end of our pleasant lunch Sarah said: I never knew that about you! And I didn't know she could write a book about Sylvia Plath from memory. So that's always interesting to learn something new about each other.
I did promise to take Sarah the next time we are in Boston to share a drink at The Street Bar at the Newbury (The old Ritz Carlton bar) in honor of the young woman who used to go there because they offered good drinks and free peanuts.

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Reply Anne Sexton and Sylvia Plath at the old Ritz Carlton Bar. (Original post)
Tomconroy Sep 2021 OP
Alice Kramden Sep 2021 #1
Tomconroy Sep 2021 #2
Alice Kramden Sep 2021 #3

Response to Tomconroy (Original post)

Tue Sep 28, 2021, 05:48 PM

1. Fascinating!

I love poetry but don't have encyclopedic knowledge about it - wonderful stories from both you and your wife!

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Response to Alice Kramden (Reply #1)

Wed Sep 29, 2021, 02:09 AM

2. When the two poets would go to the Ritz Carlton Anne Sexton

Last edited Wed Sep 29, 2021, 04:03 AM - Edit history (1)

would drive. Then as now Boston parking was impossible. Sexton would park in the loading zone behind the hotel. She'd get out of the car and shout to the workers "It's alright. We're here to get loaded!"
Sarah knew that story too.
I have to read more of Richard Wilbur's poetry. It's fabulous!

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Response to Tomconroy (Reply #2)

Wed Sep 29, 2021, 06:38 AM

3. Too funny

So glad you're writing all this down!

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