Sara Henderson Hay was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and began writing at a very early age. At 10 she published a poem in Judge Magazine, and during high school, her work was printed in her local newspaper, The Anniston Star. At Brenau College in Gainesville, Georgia, she became editor of the college magazine as a freshman. She transferred to Columbia University in New York City, and published her poems in its magazine. After graduating in 1929, she began working at the publishing house Charles Scribner's Sons, first as a secretary, then in the bookstore, and finally in the rare book department. In 1931, four anthologies included her work: Selected Magazine Verse for 1931, Younger Poets, Anthology of Garden Verse, and Columbia University Poets. She was introduced to New York literary circles and joined the Poetry Society of America. Two years later, her first volume of poetry, Field of Honor was published. In 1935, she went to work for syndicated columnist Gladys Baker as secretary-companion for a series of interviews of political figures for the New York Times that took them on a whirlwind trip through Europe meeting Pope Pius XI, Benito Mussolini and Kamal Ataturk, among others. After this European tour, she returned to work at Scribner's, reviewing poetry and fiction for the Saturday Review of Literature, and writing more poems. Her third collection of poems, The Delicate Balance (1951), received the Edna St. Vincent Millay Memorial Award from the Poetry Society of America. She married as her second husband Nicolai Lopatnikoff, a Russian-American composer and professor at Carnegie Mellon University, and returned to live in Pittsburgh, where she wrote her next book of poetry, The Stone and the Shell (1960). It received the Pegasus Award, and two of the poems included received individual awards. Her last book was A Footing on This Earth: New and Selected Poems (1966). She also edited the classic fairy-tale collection, Story Hour (1963).