Hassan Melehy (b. 1960) is an American cultural critic, writer, and translator. His poetry has appeared in many revues, his articles and books on literature, cinema, philosophy, and politics are widely read, and he has published short fiction. He has also translated several major works of critical theory and social science from French.
Born in New London, Connecticut, he grew up in Scotland, Connecticut, a small farming town. His father had immigrated from Egypt in the late 1940s and his mother from the Netherlands in the mid-1950s. In his late teenage years Melehy wrote poetry and science fiction, publishing some of it. He attended the University of Connecticut, Storrs, as a physics major but soon felt his passion for literature and philosophy. When he discovered Jack Kerouac, he decided to leave college and hitchhike to the west coast. In the countercultural haven of Santa Cruz, California, he worked a low-wage factory job and in his spare time read and wrote, publishing a few pieces, giving readings sometimes accompanied by music. After securing California residency and in-state tuition, he enrolled at the University of California, Santa Cruz, earning a BA in philosophy in 1983.
In 1984 he won a fellowship for graduate study in comparative literature at the University of Minnesota. In Minneapolis, he got involved in the performance scene, writing and acting in live pieces and short films, usually in collaboration with Paul Assimacopoulos. In 1993, after finishing his PhD, he got a one-year teaching position at Miami University of Ohio. He then spent several years on temporary contracts, moving to Nashville, Albuquerque, and Burlington, Vermont. Despite the challenging circumstances, he became a prolific critic: by the time he found a tenure-track job in 1998, he had published his first book, Writing Cogito (1997).
In 2004 he began teaching at the University of North Carolina. Over the next few years his poetry appeared in The Hat, The Baltimore Review, nthposition, and other print and online revues. In 2010 his second book of criticism, The Poetics of Literary Transfer, came out. In 2016, Kerouac: Language, Poetics, and Territory was published, followed in 2017 by A Modest Apocalypse, a poetry collection. He lives in Chapel Hill with his wife, Dorothea Heitsch, where he continues to write criticism, poetry, and fiction.