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