Sarah Yerkes Publishes Debut Poetry Collection at 101

August 1, 2019

Sarah Yerkes

At 101 years of age, Sarah Yerkes has already led a full and accomplished creative life as a sculptor and landscape architect. However, for Yerkes, the decades of working with steel, stone, brick, and wood have led to a passion for a new medium: verse. With her debut collection of poems, Days of Blue and Flames (Passager Books), Yerkes has become perhaps the oldest debut poet to date.

“I started to make small pieces but then I sort of ran out of steam, and it was harder to work and I just didn’t think it was very important anymore,” Yerkes said of her sculpting to The Washington Post. That’s when Henry Morganthau III, another centenarian poet, introduced her to a monthly poetry workshop, where Yerkes found a new passion for the written word. “I really feel like the good fairies were standing over my cradle, giving me the oomph to create,” she said.

In the workshop, her background as a sculptor quickly began to surface in her work. The leader of the workshop, Bonnie Naradzay, said this of Yerkes’s writing: “I loved the fact that she is a sculptor. I realized what a lively and intuitive mind she has—or should I say, imaginative. She said it was kind of like doing a sculpture.”

The publisher of Days of Blue and Flames, Passager Books, specializes in publishing older authors, and publishes Morganthau’s poetry as well.


Photo Credit: Sarah L. Voisin / The Washington Post

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