Poet Laureate

To be a Poet Laureate is to perceive and bridge the gaps that exist in a community. It is about creating empathy and recognizing our shared humanity… to be a poet is to help build, gather, restore. It’s about hope, that great unifier, which transforms lives, which fortifies communities, which changes the world.

NaPoMo in San Mateo!

It is National Poetry Month all over San Mateo County! On April 1st, the “Speak Poetry in San Mateo County” banner was put up at the County Center in Redwood City, with support from the Offices of Supervisor Warren Slocum and Supervisor Carole Groom, the Office of Arts and Culture, and the county’s Public Works…

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Youth ecopoetry workshops

APRIL 14, THURSDAY, 4PM-5PM DEAR EARTH, DEAR BILLIE EILISH Students grades 5-12, please join us on April 14, Thursday, 4-5pm for “Dear Earth, Dear Billie Eilish”, a Youth Poetry Zoom Reading & Workshop with San Mateo County Poet Laureate Aileen Cassinetto & teen poet Keiki Leni Ward. We’ll be exploring climate change and working on…

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Poetry @Makerspace

Scenes from Poetry Makers at Redwood City Public Library! Mayor Giselle Hale of Redwood City issued the Proclamation for National Poetry Month and we successfully launched the Makerspace Poetry Lab pilot project for all ages, the first of its kind in San Mateo County, which integrates the arts into the library’s makerspace program. We will…

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Speak Poetry in San Mateo County

Happy National Poetry Month! Today I launched the “Speak Poetry in San Mateo County” web archive featuring poets from San Mateo County and those with ties to the county. It is a celebration of poetry and its many roles in our shared humanity. It is also an invitation to connect and explore natural & literary…

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State of poetry in the county

“April is National Poetry Month. To raise awareness of the many roles poetry plays in our daily life, I’ve launched a campaign in January petitioning our county and cities here to issue an official proclamation in support of National Poetry Month. As of this writing, the San Mateo County Board of Supervisors, and the mayors…

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Dear Poet 2022

Submission period opens in April. From The Academy of American Poets: New York, NY (January 27, 2022)— The Academy of American Poets, the originator of National Poetry Month—now a worldwide celebration—invites students in grades five through twelve to participate in Dear Poet 2022, an annual multimedia education project featuring videos of award-winning poets reading their…

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Academy of American Poets Interview

The Academy of American Poets interview with Poet Laureate Fellow Aileen Cassinetto “A poem is an ecosystem where life happens. There’s ruthlessness, but also so much grace and so much possibility. Poetry situates us where our story connects with other stories, where we navigate bodies and language and distance and place with agency and urgency.…

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Highlights 2019-2021

Aileen Cassinetto was appointed by the San Mateo County Board of Supervisors to serve as Poet Laureate in October 2018. In January 2019, she launched her “Speak Poetry in San Mateo County” campaign in schools, city halls, the county jail, nursing facilities and local libraries. In April 2020, she curated the community poem, “Love in…

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BREATHE

San Mateo County Youth Toward a More Sustainable Future There is a pattern we burn  into the night sky, & it will not be of chemical  but compassion for all that is light. Last year I woke up and the sky was tangerine,  sick with smoke because we live in a world where things are…

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Poetry, please

And when we speaklet it be said that nothing is lostin translation. That our words are trueand tenable. That we understandthe meaning of “sii,” the Ohlone word for water,which is you. The Ohlone knew this.They were first of this county, borne of seawater andwoven reeds to salt marshes and pickleweedsand saltwater silvered by smelt.They fared…

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San Mateo County Welcoming Week Community Poem

BELONGING BEGINS WITH USA San Mateo County Community Poem As you walk outside on your first morning hereput out seed, and see what comes near. A dove, a rose, a redwood tree.Gaze upon a new light another wonderful adventurea new welcoming page. Sing songs in your mother tongueWe will play music to it. There is…

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BREATHE, an Official Selection in the Lift-Off Sessions!

“BREATHE,” the short film I adapted from our crowd-sourced youth ecopoem, is an Official Selection in the Lift-Off Sessions Film Festival and First-Time Filmmaker Sessions running from 8/23 to 9/6!! Congratulations to the students from the Jefferson, San Mateo & Sequioa school districts who participated in this project and Happy #InternationalYouthDay! *BREATHE, the first in…

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Tanaga

My work appears in Poetry Foundation & Poetry Magazine for the first time! I am completely astounded. My heartfelt thanks to the editors who read and curated the issue with such care and thoughtfulness. My poem is part of a collaborative work with former Virginia Poet Laureate Sofia Starnes, former Delaware Poet Laureate JoAnn Balingit…

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June 2021 to June 2022: Youth Ecopoetry Project

As part of my Academy of American Poets project, I am organizing ecopoetry workshops and working on a series of short poetry films that will highlight San Mateo County’s ecology and how our youth are responding to environmental challenges. “Ecopoetry generally refers to poetry about ecology, ecosystems, environmental injustice, animals, agriculture, climate change, water, and…

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August 2021: Youth Ecopoetry Workshop

Save the date: August 11, 2021 at 5pm Pacific via Zoom! Youth Ecopoets’ Workshop with 2020 U.S. Youth Poet Laureate & 2020 UN Sustainable Development Goals Ambassador Meera Dasgupta Organized by San Mateo County Poet Laureate Aileen Cassinetto and the South San Francisco Public Library, this workshop is made possible by the Academy of American…

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June 2021: Youth Climate Ambassadors

The San Mateo County Office of Sustainability and San Mateo County Poet Laureate Aileen Cassinetto present a youth ecopoetry workshop at the Youth Climate Ambassadors Summer Retreat. *With Keynote Address & Workshop by National Youth Poet Laureate Alexandra Huynh   (The Ecopoetry workshop, organized by San Mateo County Poet Laureate Aileen Cassinetto, was made possible…

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June 2021: Special Congressional Recognition

Presented by Congresswoman Anna Eshoo to San Mateo County Poet Laureate Aileen Cassinetto on June 14, 2021. In her letter Congresswoman Eshoo writes, “This accomplishment is an eloquent statement about your beautiful poetry and your commitment to improving your community… To honor you and your extraordinary work, I’m enclosing a Congressional Certificate of Recognition.”

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June 2021: Academy of American Poets Laureate Fellowship

New York, NY (June 3, 2021)— The Academy of American Poets is pleased to announce its 2021 Poets Laureate Fellows. These 23 individuals serve as Poets Laureate of states and cities across the U. S. and will be leading public poetry programs in their respective communities in the year ahead. The Fellows will each receive…

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May 2021: Filipino Kapwa with Daly City

Kapwa: Filipino Writers on History, Legacy and Building Community featuring Eileen Tabios, Kirby Araullo, Leny Mendoza Strobel and Vince Gotera Hosted by Daly City Public Library & San Mateo County Poet Laureate Aileen Cassinetto. May 19 at 5pm PT. Watch again here.

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May 2021: Midpen Media Celebrates Youth Poets

San Mateo County Poet Laureate Aileen Cassinetto is joined by The Midpen Media Center founder Elliot Margolies, local teacher Jim Ward, contributors to the youth anthology, I Have a Dream: Inaugural Poems for a New Generation, and winners and finalists of the 2020 Housing Leadership Council Youth Poetry Competition, 2021 Daly City Youth Poet Laureate…

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May 2021: Growing Home / Affordable Housing Month

In late 2019, the Housing Leadership Council of San Mateo County and SMCPL Aileen Cassinetto began collaborating on what would be an annual countywide youth poetry, music & art competition to raise awareness of Affordable Housing Month and highlight young people’s notions of home. The theme this year is “Growing Home,” the title of last…

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May 2021: Mental Health Open Mic

Menlo Park Library’s Mental Health Awareness Virtual Open Mic Whether in poetry, spoken word, or music, let’s bring our voices together to break the silence surrounding the mental health impacts of rising anti-Asian sentiments and stand in solidarity with the AAPI community. Share your own words, or listen to others. Register here. For more info,…

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April 2021: Inaugural Daly City Youth Poet Laureate

“City Launches Youth Poet Laureate Program, First Of Its Kind In San Mateo County,” SF Gate (January 15, 2021) “San Mateo County’s poet laureate Aileen Cassinetto said Daly City’s youth program “amplifies the role of youth in the community and the power of the literary arts in inspiring civic engagement.” “I see the Youth Poet…

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March 2021: The Future of Women’s History

San Mateo County Poet Laureate Aileen Cassinetto and the San Mateo County Commission on the Status of Women present The Future of Women’s History, March 24 at noon. Featuring Sanjyot Pia Walawalkar, Amanda Safi, Sophie Mateja & Hilary Cruz Mejia. (Watch the FB recording here.)

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March 2021: Empower Women, Empower Earth

With a theme of ecofeminism, Skyline College in collaboration with San Mateo County Poet Laureate Aileen Cassinetto presents Empower Women, Empower Earth featuring Persis Karim, Maya Khosla and Kim Shuck (find full bios here: http://bit.ly/PoetBios). The Poetry Corner Series offers the Skyline College community a space to gather and celebrate diversity and lyrical power through…

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March 2021: Philippine Embassy’s International Women’s Day

“A Panel Discussion with Filipino-American Women Writers” Hosted by the Philippine Embassy in Washington D.C. in honor of International Women’s Day Panelists: Cecilia Manguerra Brainard, Migs Bravo Dutt, Luisa A. Igloria, Gayle Romasanta Moderator: Aileen Cassinetto Watch it again. Read the press release.

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March-July 2021: Burlingame Library’s Community Book to Action

Burlingame Public Library’s community Book to Action program “Burlingame Reads,” running March-July 2021, with support from California Center for the Book, and with Community Partners Citizens Environmental Council, Sustainable San Mateo County, Farming Hope, San Mateo County Poet Laureate Aileen Cassinetto, and Nethra Samarawickrema and Yuri Zaitsev of the Listening Lab, presents a series of…

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February 2021: 2nd Annual Filoli Haiku Competition

Haiku Reading at Filoli (special announcement of the Haiku Competition winners) Submit Your Haiku on Filoli’s Winter Garden! Entries due January 31 | Winner announced Feb 14 Filoli is pleased to bring back for a second year its Winter Garden Haiku Poetry Competition, open to all. Entrants may submit up to three original, previously unpublished…

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February 2021: Poetry Out Loud

THIRD ANNUAL SAN MATEO COUNTY POETRY OUT LOUD COMPETITION “Igniting student potential through the power of poetry” Come and watch inspiring students from various San Mateo County schools compete in the Third Annual San Mateo County Poetry Out Loud Competition on Thursday, February 11th, from 7-9 pm Via Zoom Webinar! Register for this FREE Event…

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January 2021: Youth Inaugural Poems Anthology

Release of I Have a Dream: Inaugural Poems for a New Generation by San Mateo County Youth in honor of MLK Day 2021 and Inauguration Day. A project by San Mateo County Poet Laureate Aileen Cassinetto, with support from the San Mateo County Arts Commission. Read excerpts here.

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December 2020: Youth Poetry Workshops

Learn to write an occasional poem with San Mateo County Poet Laureate Aileen Cassinetto! 12/2 and 12/9 at 5pm, hosted by the Daly City Public Library Associates (DCPLA) with a reading by Oakland youth poet Siara Edmond. To sign up, please email info@dcpla.org.

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November 2020: Re-EnVISIONing Our Future Together

San Mateo County Poet Laureate Aileen Cassinetto and Skyline College collaborate to present a reading and panel discussion, Re-EnVISIONing Our Future Together, that hopes “to find clarity and to imagine a future that celebrates both our commonalities and our differences.” The event will feature Virginia Poet Laureate Luisa A. Igloria and former San Antonio Poet…

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October 2020: County Board Resolution

Board of Supervisors, County of San Mateo, State of California RESOLUTION TO EXTEND THE TERM OF AILEEN CASSINETTO TO THE HONORARY POST OF SAN MATEO COUNTY POET LAUREATE FOR AN ADDITIONAL YEAR FROM JANUARY 1, 2021 THROUGH DECEMBER 31, 2021 RESOLVED, by the Board of Supervisors of the County of San Mateo, State of California,…

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September & October 2020: Peninsula Virtual Bookfest

Message from San Mateo County Supervisor Carole Groom & Local Librarians: The Peninsula Virtual Bookfest brings together a diverse community of writers and book lovers, in a series of vital and inspiring readings and conversations during the months of September and October. Curated by San Mateo County Poet Laureate Aileen Cassinetto, the virtual bookfest will…

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August 2020: Women’s Equality Day Celebration

San Mateo County Poet Laureate Aileen Cassinetto in collaboration with the San Mateo County Commission on the Status of Women, presents R.I.S.E. 2020: Women’s Equality Day Celebration, with poetry by SevanKelee Boult, Ina Cariño, Meera Dasgupta, Bethlehem Roberson (vocussionist), Kim Shuck, Tynea Smith & Angelique N. Zobitz, hosted by San Mateo County Poet Laureate Aileen…

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June 2020: Pride & Poetry

The San Mateo County Arts Commission with San Mateo County Poet Laureate Aileen Cassinetto present “PRIDE & POETRY,” with readings by Dena Rod, Joe G. Mendoza & Jan Steckel, and music performances by Erinn Louise Washburn and members of our local West Bay Community Band, and Karen Bryant Shipp of the Oakhurst Choir in Georgia.…

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May 2020: Home Could Be Here / Affordable Housing Month

San Mateo County Poet Laureate Aileen Cassinetto and the Housing Leadership Council of San Mateo County present “Home Could Be Here,” the first countywide Youth Poetry, Art & Music Competition to raise awareness of Affordable Housing Month. May 7 at 6pm. Poetry:Ronit DasAshley LauAbigale Wee (1st place) Music:Carmelo AmezcuaBrianna Jacobs (1st place)Caroline Robbins Visual Art:Cielo…

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May 2020: Mental Health Open Mic

San Mateo County Poet Laureate Aileen Cassinetto and Menlo Park Library present Mental Health Open Mic to help break the silence surrounding suicide and mental illness. Menlo Park Library Mental Health Open Mic 2020 from City of Menlo Park on Vimeo.

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April 2020: Genoa International Poetry Festival

SMC Poet Laureate Aileen Cassinetto read her poem at the Genoa International Poetry Festival’s virtual event. Parole Spalancate’s Poetry in sDreaming “[reaffirms] the strength of poetry as a tool for sharing, dialogue and creation… in this moment of suspended time and forced isolation in Italy…” (The Genoa International Poetry Festival is Italy’s oldest poetry event.…

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April & May 2020: Love in the Time of COVID-19

Special Reading of San Mateo County’s Community Poem on Memorial Day at the Mystic Seaport Museum, Connecticut A few days after the six Bay Area counties issued the mandate to shelter-in-place, my NextDoor community mobilized to find ways to support each other. A few people started yard-based neighborhood pantries stocked with food and other personal…

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April 2020: Pandemic Poetry

As 20% of the world’s population went under lockdown to slow the spread of COVID-19 in March 2020, San Mateo County Poet Laureate Aileen Cassinetto sent out a call for poems on “sheltering.” By April 1st, 46 poets from across the US and around the world sent 90 poems, now archived in “MiGoZine: Poets on…

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February 2020: Poetry Out Loud

San Mateo County Poet Laureate Aileen Cassinetto as one of 3 judges in the 2nd Annual San Mateo County Poetry Out Loud Competition sponsored by the Arts Commission. Poetry Out Loud is a national program that encourages high school students to learn about great poetry through memorization, performance, and competition. This program helps students master…

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February & March 2020: 1st Annual Filoli Haiku Competition

San Mateo County Poet Laureate Aileen Cassinetto and Filoli History House & Garden present the 1st Annual Haiku Competition inspired by Filoli’s winter garden. San Mateo County Poet Laureate to Judge Entries Reflecting the Beauty of Filoli’s Garden in Winter Deadline: Entries should be submitted by February 15, 2020, 12:00 pm. The finalists will be…

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2019 Summary

Appointed by the San Mateo County Board of Supervisors in October 2018, I began my two-year term as Poet Laureate of San Mateo County on January 1, 2019 with a vision of what I hope to achieve to celebrate the literary arts and make poetry more accessible to people in their everyday lives. I am…

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Gallery

HELL/A MEXICAN FEATURING KEVIN MADRIGAL GALINDO, NIA MCALLISTER, HILARY CRUZ MEJIA & ALAN CHAZARO COASTSIDE POETRY FEATURING SMC POET LAUREATE AILEEN CASSINETTO FILIPINO AMERICANS OF SAN MATEO COUNTY Featuring Kimberley Acebo Arteche, Dado & Maria Banatao, Jo Boston, Gio Cuevas, Emily Danuco, Althea De Guzman, Allen Mata, Lisa Suguitan Melnick, Chef Reina Montenegro, Councilmember Flor…

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