Photo of Melanie Hyo-In Han


Born in Korea and raised in East Africa, Melanie Hyo-In Han recently moved from Boston to Seoul where she’s a writer and a teacher. Nominated for Pushcart Prizes, Han has received awards from “Boston in 100 Words,” Valiant Scribe, Constellations, The Lyric Magazine, and elsewhere. She is the author of Sandpaper Tongue, Parchment Lips (Finishing Line Press) and the translator of several collections of Spanish poetry (Hebel Ediciones).

She holds a B.A. in English, Spanish, and Linguistics, and an M.Ed. in Secondary English and Spanish from Gordon College, and an M.F.A. in Creative Writing (Poetry and Translation) from Emerson College where she taught in the Writing Studies Program and served as an ELL Consultant.

As a TCK (Third Culture Kid), the inspiration behind her poetry comes from her own childhood experiences and an exploration of identity, belonging, and culture through the use of fragmented form and inclusion of multiple languages. She also writes nonfiction and does translation work between English, Spanish, and Korean.

Currently, Han is the Co-Editor-in-Chief at Flora Fiction and teaches English, Spanish, and Creative Writing. During her free time, she enjoys visiting new countries and trying different ethnic foods with her husband.

Sandpaper Tongue, Parchment Lips

Cover of Sandpaper Tongue, Parchment Lips

Melanie Hyo-In Han's first poetry chapbook, Sandpaper Tongue, Parchment Lips, is a collection of poetry based on her experiences as a TCK (Third Culture Kid) growing up in East Africa and facing struggles around identity and racism, as well as cultural and linguistic barriers between her and her family.

Read reviews of the chapbook:

Check out interviews of Han’s writing process:

Sandpaper Tongue, Parchment Lips can be purchased through Finishing Line Press, Amazon, or Barnes & Noble.

In Sandpaper Tongue, Parchment Lips, Melanie Hyo-In Han asks what it means to be an outsider to both language and place while returning the reader-cum-witness to the house of poetry. In plain language Han’s poems pack and unpack the tender complications of the speaker’s puzzling through national belongings whether in Korea, Tanzania, or the United States. The migrating body thrives in rainy seasons, in heartbreak, in alienation, all while baring the intimacy of presence and poetic line.

- Rajiv Mohabir, author of Cutlish and The Cowherd’s Son

Melanie Hyo-In Han’s Sandpaper Tongue, Parchment Lips is an intimate collection of riveting poems. Han explores what it means to grow up as an outsider amongst outsiders in drought stricken Tanzania. Han’s poems stretch across time, space, and the page as each poem considers itself in experimental form. Sandpaper Tongue, Parchment Lips interrupts language as we know to deliver unflinching images with a melancholic tone that leave the reader both clutched and quenched.

- Porsha Olayiwola, Boston Poet Laureate, author of i shimmer sometimes, too

This stunning and moving chapbook puts a map in your hands as you travel from Morogoro to Marrakech, from Korea to Kenya, retracing your steps back home. Melanie Hyo-In Han's mastery of imagery and form demonstrates a playfulness with memory without shying away from the heaviness that often comes along for the ride. Each poem offers an invitation to explore family and place with an elegant assuredness, a tender guide. Sandpaper Tongue, Parchment Lips not only asks, "Can I Roll, Slice, Stack Memories?" but also, "at what cost?"

- Livia Meneghin, author of Honey in My Hair

Melanie's chapbook touched my heart profoundly, a beautiful collection of poetry interweaving identity, multiculturalism, diversity, racism, interconnectivity, and the lack thereof. Her book takes me on a trip to South Korea, Tanzania, and the United States. As a global citizen, I find a reflection of my struggles and experiences mirrored in this collection, as will anyone who has struggled with issues of identity and otherness.

- Debra Ayis, editor of Valiant Scribe




Reviews & Interviews



If you want to say hi, feel free to send her an email at To learn more about her professional experiences, you can take a look at her curriculum vitae.