Farewell note

Dear community partners and friends, 

As my laureateship ends today, I wish to thank all of you for your incredible support over the last three and a half years. With your help, I was able to accomplish what I initially set out to do which was to make poetry more accessible and amplify its role in the context of larger intersectional movements.

Some of my most important projects include: 

—the San Mateo County Youth Ecopoetry Project, a series of workshops and short films that highlight young people’s climate advocacy through the lens of poetry, film and equity, with support from the Academy of American Poets and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation;

—Speak Poetry in San Mateo County Project which included readings and a web archive featuring the individual and anthologized work of over 300 poets from the county and the greater Bay Area on the theme of belonging, with support from the County of San Mateo;

—Makerspace Poetry Lab (Poetry Makers) which integrates poetry into the makerspace to encourage divergent thinking in people of all ages, launched by the Redwood City Public Library;

—Filoli Annual Haiku Competition and Ecopoetry Award engaging not only the beauty of nature but also the impacts of climate change, with over 3,000 submissions since 2020;

—Proclamation of National Poetry Month by the County of San Mateo Board of Supervisors and the mayors of 11 cities in the county, as well as a countywide celebration of poetry including raising of the Speak Poetry banner at the County Center on April 1st, 2022;

—Poets RISE at the 2020 & 2022 San Mateo County Women’s Leadership Conference;

—“Love in the Time of Covid-19: A Community Poem for Healthcare Workers and Other Frontliners,” the first collaborative poem which raised funds for pandemic relief efforts and was also used as resource material or featured in California and four other states (CT, TX, MN, HI);

—Skyline College Poetry Corner Series celebrating poetry and themes of belonging, diversity, social justice and equity;

—youth programs (e.g. competitions, workshops, youth poet laureate campaigns etc) in partnership with the San Mateo County Office of Arts & Culture, Office of Education, Mental Health Services, Youth Climate Ambassadors, Commission on the Status of Women, member libraries of the Peninsula Library System, Daly City Public Library Associates, City of South San Francisco, City of Menlo Park, Filoli, the Housing Leadership Council of San Mateo County, and many more, to empower youth, support mental health, advance social justice, and encourage greater civic participation.

What I am most grateful for, however, are the relationships I built and communities I upheld. I am ever so grateful that poetry has allowed my story to connect with yours. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. It has truly been an honor and privilege to have served as your poet laureate.

With much respect,
To find out more about my work as poet laureate, please visit:
Speak Poetry in San Mateo County 
Dear Aileen Cassinetto 2022
State of poetry in the county
The Academy of American Poets Laureate Fellowship
The Future is Poetry
Power to the Poets

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