Newburyport High School teacher and poet Deborah Szabo will be honored at the Newburyport Literary Festival Saturday, April 30, at 7 p.m.

A legendary national figure slated to be recognized Friday at 6 p.m. is poet Edna St. Vincent Millay (1892-1950), the Maine-born poet, Pulitizer-Prize winner and onetime resident of Newburyport (Lime Street, it is said).

Organizers are focusing on poetry in their 11th year, and the local 2016 Literary Festival honoree is Szabo.

She was born and raised in New York City, attended the High School of Music and Art, Boston University (B.A. English), and Teachers College, Columbia University (M.A. Education). 

Early in her career and during the first seven years of court-ordered desegregation, she taught in the Boston Public Schools. She began teaching at Newburyport High School in 1982. 

During her tenure there, she founded the Creative Writing club, which evolved into a Creative Writing class; joined with students and local poets to start “Poetry Soup,” a forum for student poets.

Following an intensive summer workshop with the poet Robert Pinsky, she began the Newburyport version of the Favorite Poem Project. 

She coaches the prize-winning Newburyport High School poetry slam team for Boston’s “Louder Than A Bomb” - the largest youth poetry slam in the country. 

After 42 years of teaching, Deborah still gets a thrill watching students discover the beauty of poetry, organizers say.

Scores of former students return to this community, and check in with their former poetry teacher, high school administrators say.

During the Friday night event honoring Millay, participants will include poet/biographer Daniel Mark Epstein(What Lips My Lips Have Kissed: The Loves and Love Poems of Edna St. Vincent Millay) in conversation with poet/arts journalist, Carl Little (Art of Acadia ) about Millay’s life, work, and influence.

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