Katie Woods, Communications Manager
San Mateo County Libraries
San Mateo, CA - Today, the San Mateo County Board of Supervisors, opens a new window appointed Aileen Cassinetto of San Mateo to the honorary post of Poet Laureate. Her role as Poet Laureate will be to elevate poetry among San Mateo County residents and to celebrate the literary arts by making poetry more accessible to people in their everyday lives.
The San Mateo County Board of Supervisors created the honorary post of Poet Laureate in April 2013. Upon recommendation of the San Mateo County Poet Laureate Advisory Committee, co-chaired by San Mateo County Supervisor Warren Slocum, opens a new window and Carole Groom, opens a new window, the Board of Supervisors appointed Caroline Goodwin, opens a new window as its first Poet Laureate in October 2013 and Lisa Rosenberg, opens a new window as her successor in 2016. Cassinetto will serve as the third (and first Asian-American) Poet Laureate of San Mateo County. Her two-year term will commence January 2019.
“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. Our county is singularly diverse, in terms of its geography and its demographics. And in this landscape, we have the space to bring to the fore the issues that unsettle and divide us, as well as everything which unites us. I am grateful to Caroline Goodwin and Lisa Rosenberg for the incredible work they have done as Poets Laureate. This program has grown in scope in the last four years. I step into this post from a place of humility and gratitude,” said Aileen Cassinetto. “As an immigrant, I came to America with a luggage overpacked with poems and the overwhelming thought that I can be a poet here. I learned the most important lessons from being part of a community, which is to say, 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.”
Cassinetto is the author of The Pink House of Purple Yam Preserves and Other Poems, Traje de Boda, The Art of Salamat, B & O Blues, and Tweet. Her work is on permanent display at the San Francisco Public Library, opens a new window as part of the Hay(na)ku Poetry Exhibit, opens a new window. She is the publisher of Paloma Press, opens a new window, an independent literary press established in 2016, which has released 12 books to date.
“Aileen Cassinetto will bring a unique perspective to her new role by bridging and engaging the communities through the use of spoken word and literary arts,” said Supervisor Warren Slocum. “Aileen has so much talent and passion for her craft. We look forward to her serving as an ambassador and role model to poets and in our community.”
Supervisor Carole Groom added, “Special thanks to Lisa Rosenberg for the outstanding work she has done as Poet Laureate. We look forward to Aileen Cassinetto as our new Poet Laureate. We know this program will continue to flourish under her enthusiasm and expertise.”
Members of the San Mateo County Poet Laureate Advisory Committee include: San Mateo County Supervisors Warren Slocum and Carole Groom; former San Mateo County Poet Laureate Caroline Goodwin; Kalamu Chaché, East Palo Alto Poet Laureate; Maryann Moise Derwin, Board Member of the San Mateo County Library JPA Governing Board and Council Member of Portola Valley; Anne-Marie Despain, Director of Library Services for San Mateo County Libraries; Rosemary Ibarra-Garcia, Poet; Robin Rodricks, Chair of the San Mateo County Arts Commission; Christopher Wachlin, Editor and Publisher of The Stoneslide Corrective and Past President of the San Francisco Peninsula branch of the California Writers Club; Bonny Zanardi, Visual Art Columnist, San Mateo County Times and Founding Board Member of City Arts, San Mateo and Kathleen McClung, Poet and Professor at Skyline College. The Poet Laureate program is staffed by the San Mateo County Libraries.
The Poet Laureate Advisory Committee is excited to work with and support the new San Mateo County Poet Laureate as she introduces her poetry project and engages the community in the literary arts.
For more information, visit sanmateocountypoet.org, opens a new window.