About

Aileen Cassinetto (she/her) is a Filipino and American poet, publisher, commissioner, and daughter of Filipino immigrants. She is a 2021 Academy of American Poets Laureate Fellow, 2022 Metro Film and Arts Foundation grantee, San Mateo County Poet Laureate from 2019 to 2022, and Commissioner on the Status of Women from 2021 to 2025. She is the recipient of a Special Congressional Recognition, and commendations from the California State Senate, California State Assembly, and San Mateo County Board of Supervisors. She has launched several community initiatives, and partners with local agencies and organizations to amplify the role of poets in the context of larger social movements. She founded Paloma Press in 2016, and launched The Mana Creative Futures Project in 2022, to support, celebrate, mentor, and partner with artists and culture makers to expand our understanding of what it means to reimagine all of our possibilities. A former National Youth Poet Laureate judge, three of her mentees have been named youth poets laureate in the SF Bay Area. She is the author of two poetry collections and three chapbooks, and her work has appeared in American Poets, Cultural Daily, Fellowship Magazine, POETRY, and poets.org, among others. Her poem, “Wide American Earth,” has been set to choral music, and will be performed at Carnegie Hall in 2023. Other poems have been included in programs and art shows at the Philippine Consulate General in San Francisco, the Japanese American National Museum, the San Francisco Public Library, and the Cultural Center of the Philippines. Her ecopoetry film projects have been featured in Arts Link and the Copenhagen Nature & Culture Poetry Film Festival. Additionally, she is co-editing the climate change anthology, Dear Human at the Edge of Time, to coincide with the release of the Fifth National Climate Assessment (NCA5) in 2023, and will be serving on KQED‘s Community Advisory Panel for six consecutive years beginning in 2023.

SHORT BIO: Aileen Cassinetto is an Academy of American Poets Laureate Fellow and the founder of Paloma Press. She is the author of two poetry collections, and her work has appeared in American Poets, Cultural Daily, POETRY, and poets.org, among others. She also serves as Commissioner on the Status of Women for San Mateo County, and as a member of KQED’s Community Advisory Panel.

Initiatives & Advocacies

THE MANA CREATIVE FUTURES PROJECT

“American Dreams,” a project by Mana Creative Futures, are language-based public art installations that use augmented reality to overlay digital content on a supported mobile device’s (iOS) camera. This project aims to transform shared spaces, promote ideas and messages of hope, cultivate a sense of belonging, and offer an opportunity to change, inspire, confront, and write ourselves into the kind of future we all want to see.

CLIMATE ACTION

Dear Human at the Edge of Time, co-edited with Dr. Luisa A. Igloria & Dr. Jeremy Hoffman, forthcoming in Fall 2023 to coincide with the release of the Fifth National Climate Assessment (NCA5) report of which Dr. Hoffman is Chapter Lead for the Southeast.

The Future Is Poetry” & “Breathe,” short ecopoetry films which premiered at the Lift-Off Filmmaker Sessions and Copenhagen’s Nature & Culture Poetry Film Festival.

San Mateo County Youth Ecopoetry Project (June 2021-June 2022), a series of workshops, ecopoems and short poetry films on ecology, environmental justice and sustainability, in collaboration with high school students, Urban Word, Youth Climate Ambassadors, Office of Sustainability, Office of Arts & Culture, South San Francisco Library, Menlo Park Library, Daly City Public Library Associates, and Midpen Media Center, with support from The Academy of American Poets and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Filoli Ecopoetry Award, launched in 2022 to encourage poetry submissions that engage not only the beauty of nature but also the impacts of climate change.

POET LAUREATE COMMUNITY PROJECT

Speak Poetry in San Mateo County (2019-2022), an umbrella project, countywide celebration of poetry, and cornerstone program of Aileen Cassinetto’s laureateship, which included a literary archive, themed readings and open mics, a virtual bookfest, a countywide campaign for youth engagement, and proclamation of National Poetry Month by the county supervisors and city mayors.

YOUTH EMPOWERMENT

Youth Poet Laureate Project (2020-2022), a campaign to adopt youth poet laureate/youth poets-in-residence programs around the county. Daly City named Madeleine Hur as Daly City Inaugural Youth Poet Laureate in 2021. In 2022, South San Francisco and Burlingame launched a Youth Poet-in-Residence program to highlight the importance of the arts in community engagement. The City of Burlingame-Town of Hillsborough Youth Poet Laureate program is scheduled to launch in 2023.

I Have a Dream: Inaugural Poems for a New Generation (January 2021), an anthology featuring inaugural poems by students ages 6 to 16, with support from the San Mateo County Arts Commission.

Growing Home” (2021) and “Home Could Be Here” (May 2020), a collaboration with the Housing Leadership Council of San Mateo County to raise awareness of Affordable Housing Month and empower youth voices in the community through poetry and the arts.

WOMEN EMPOWERMENT

“Poets Rise” at RISE 2022: Women’s Leadership Conference (March 2022), The Future of Women’s History: A Panel Discussion (March 2021), & “Poets Rise” at RISE 2020 (March 2020), in collaboration with the San Mateo County Commission on the Status of Women.

“Empower Women, Empower Earth,” (2021) a reading and panel discussion in collaboration with Skyline College Learning Communities.

STEAM

Makerspace Poetry Lab Pilot Project (April 2022), integrates poetry into the makerspace to encourage divergent thinking and diverse perspectives, in collaboration with Redwood City Public Library and San Mateo County Libraries.

COMMUNITY & BELONGING

Skyline College Learning Communities Poetry Corner Series (2019-2022) celebrating poetry and themes of belonging, diversity, social justice and equity.

TAYO, Filipino Americans of San Mateo County” (October 2021), a mini-documentary highlighting the Filipino experience in San Mateo County, with support from the Philippine Consulate General in San Francisco and the Daly City Public Library.

Belonging Begins With Us” (September 2021), workshop and community poem, in collaboration with the County of San Mateo Office of Community Affairs’ Immigrant Services and Welcoming America.

“Burlingame Reads 2021” (March 2021), in collaboration with Burlingame Library.

Power to the Poets (June 2020-August 2020), a reading series of poetry, solidarity & social justice featuring poets from the East Coast & West Coast.

Pride & Poetry” (June 2020), in honor of PRIDE Month, with support from the San Mateo County Arts Commission.

HEALING & MENTAL HEALTH

Love in the Time of COVID-19: A Community Poem for Healthcare Workers and Other Frontliners (April 2020), fundraiser for the San Mateo County Health Foundation’s Covid-19 fund.

Sheltering: 46 poets shelter in place” (April 2020)

Filoli Haiku Competition (January 2020), a collaboration with Filoli Historic House & Garden on an annual haiku competition for all ages. Over 2,000 poems have been written about Filoli’s gardens since 2020. 

ANTHOLOGIES & READINGS

Author Talks & Readings (2019-2022) including a Virtual Bookfest, in collaboration with Burlingame Library, Daly City Public Library, Menlo Park Library, Redwood City Public Library, San Mateo County Libraries, San Mateo Public Library, Skyline College Learning Communities, South San Francisco Library, and various booksellers.

Speak Poetry Vol. 2 (December 2019), a print anthology featuring work by poets from San Mateo County.

Poetry & Community Concerts (February, April & December 2019), celebrating the power of poetry and community, in collaboration with Aragon Music, the West Bay Community Band, Burlingame Library, and San Mateo County Libraries.

Speak Poetry Vol. 1 (April 2019), a print anthology featuring work by poets from San Mateo County.

Humanity: Vol. 1 (August 2018), an anthology of humanity’s explorations, often struggles, with itself in a variety of contexts.

PUBLISHING

Paloma Press, established in 2016, seeks to publish poems and prose that have the power to inspire and reshape our creative futures. Representative authors include: Ivy Alvarez, Cynthia Buiza, Robert Cowan, Melinda Luisa de Jesus, Jeanne-Marie Osterman, Barbara Jane Reyes, Jacki Rigoni, Christopher X. Shade, Lara Stapleton, Leny Strobel, Eileen R. Tabios, and Jean Vengua.