“New York City is my longest living relationship,” Sarah Herrington half-jokes to the crowd, her golden-flecked green eyes beaming and a smile playing on her lips. It had been a whirlwind past few months for the auburn haired author, yoga teacher and former model, who was featured as a rising poet by Oprah Magazine this past April in their first ever poetry issue and was now at her book party celebrating the release of her debut poetry collection Always Moving.
It was a long way from the small town of Troy, New York and the dairy farm where Sarah had grown up. As a shy teenager she felt that somehow she belonged somewhere else, and writing poetry became a means for her to feel less alone. By the time she graduated from high school she was ready to move on: “I wanted to be in the middle of everything – the biggest city that I could find. So I went to Manhattan.” Sarah entered New York University as an English major and also began modeling on the side after being chosen by Seventeen Magazine to appear in a runway show. “Modeling was like a delayed adolescence for me,” Sarah says. “It helped me grow into myself and find my voice.”
Sarah’s primary love though was writing. Over ten years beginning in college Sarah published fiction and wrote the poetry which would ultimately become the collection Always Moving. “I was writing a book without knowing I was writing it,” Sarah says, her eyes lighting up. “It really just came out my own experience without thought of getting published at the end.” The poems build on each other in a coming of age story. Early pieces center on New York City, where she walks the streets searching for meaning and experiences young love and loss. As the volume progress there is a movement towards spirituality in her yoga poems which Sarah says is indicative of her own life path: “There’s a lot of looking outside of myself at the beginning and then as I go on there’s more reflection, a looking inside. In the beginning the ‘always moving’ is me literally walking around – I’m constantly moving and then slowly I’m stopping and sitting down and now the movement is happening internally. I think always moving is the same as searching.”
This sense of searching gives the poems a universal resonance beyond merely a New York or urban-based readership. In one poem Sarah writes: “I always wanted to be like Sylvia, but to survive…” The line, which references poet Sylvia Plath’s battle with depression, illustrates Sarah’s desire to experience things intensely but to emerge from them with strength. “To really go to the darkest places I’ve ever been and to try to write from that can be very difficult,” Sarah says, pausing. “But I think the poems usually end up with me resurfacing and being positive overall, not just staying in the darkness.”
Next up for Sarah is OM Schooled, a guide to teaching kid’s yoga. She is also working on a young adult novel that tells a model’s coming of age story and a second young adult novel about mermaids living off the coast of Manhattan. In the meantime Sarah continues to search for meaning in her writing: “I think I get closer but maybe there’s no ‘there’ to get to. And maybe that’s the point.”