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 year’s winning poem by Abigale Wee. Grand Prize Winners this year, announced by The Honorable David Canepa, President of the San Mateo County Board of Supervisors, are: Rachel Cronin (Poetry, K-5); Marta Olson (Poetry, 6-12); Mina Hui (Art, K-5); Emily Gao & Jane Oh (Art, 6-12); Justin Tha (Music, K-5); William Christensen (Music, 6-12).

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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 Laureate as the city’s literary ambassador, creating necessary spaces so that the voices of other young people can be heard,” Cassinetto said in a statement. “I see this role as giving shape to our young people’s hopes, fears, perspectives, sense of purpose, and sense of community.”

Cassinetto is one of the newest members of the board of the Daly City Public Library Associates (DCPLA), a “Friends of the Library” group that supports the library with fundraising.”

Watch the virtual commencement ceremony:

*San Mateo County Poet Laureate Aileen Cassinetto is an advocate of youth poet laureate programs in and around the county. She also helped to establish a countywide Annual Youth Poetry & Art Competition in collaboration with the San Mateo County Housing Leadership Council, an Annual Haiku Competition in collaboration with Filoli Historic House & Garden, and the first ecopoetry workshop at the Youth Climate Ambassadors Summer Retreat.

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:


The Poetry Corner Series offers the Skyline College community a space to gather and celebrate diversity and lyrical power through the art of poetry.

Poetry Corner is supported by a President’s Innovation Fund award.

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 events focusing on environmental, racial, food and housing justice.

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February 2021: 2nd Annual Filoli Haiku Competition

Haiku Reading at Filoli (special announcement of the Haiku Competition winners)


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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 poems in the 5/7/5 format that reflect or are inspired by the beauty of Filoli’s garden in winter. San Mateo County Poet Laureate Aileen Cassinetto will judge the entries blind, selecting ten finalists and awarding prizes for first and second place (adult) and best under 18 years of age. Entries must be submitted by January 31, 2021 at midnight PST. Finalists will be announced on the website on February 10, 2021. The winners will be announced via Zoom on February 14, 2021. For more information and to submit an entry, visit:

February 2021: Poetry Out Loud

“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 here:

For more information about the California Poetry Out Loud Competition, visit

For more information about the San Mateo County Arts Commission, visit

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