Aileen Cassinetto is the first Filipino American Poet Laureate from San Mateo County, California. She is also the first Asian-American and foreign-born American poet appointed to this position.
Cassinetto said his appointment reflects the diversity of the San Francisco Bay Area’s largest county.
“In San Mateo County, there are over 126,000 homes where English is not the primary language, so I wanted to highlight different stories, celebrate our diversity because that’s what makes us stronger as a community,” Cassinetto said.
Cassinetto is the founder of Paloma Press and the author of two poetry collections and three collections, with her work featured in various prestigious publications. She also helped establish annual youth poetry competitions and youth poet laureate programs in the county. Cassinetto organized the community fundraising poem, ‘Love in the Time of Covid-19,’ which was read in Connecticut on Memorial Day in 2020, and used as a resource by the Alzheimer’s Poetry Project Minnesota and the Montgomery School District in Texas.
“The beauty of poetry is that it has the power to flesh out personal or sociopolitical issues. It also has the power to bring a community together,” Cassinetto said.
The Manila-born poet added that she is proud to be mentored and influenced by other Filipino poets and writers. “I was lucky enough to meet Filipino poets like the late Ed Maranan who mentored me and also Eileen Tabios, Remé-Antonia Grefalda who are pillars of Filipino literature who kind of showed me how poetry can be part of our daily lives.”
On December 7, 2021, the San Mateo County Board of Supervisors appointed her to the Commission on the Status of Women, with her term ending December 31, 2025.
Filipino American Poet Laureate, San Mateo County, California, Filipino Community, Asian Americans, TFC News