Born and raised in Manila, Philippines, Aileen Cassinetto is the Poet Laureate of San Mateo County, and also serves as a Commissioner on San Mateo County's Commission on the Status of Women. She is the author of Traje de Boda (Meritage Press, 2010) and The Pink House of Purple Yam Preserves & Other Poems (Little Dove & Our Own Voice, 2018) and three chapbooks through Moria Books’ acclaimed Locofo Chaps. In January 2019, she launched her “Speak Poetry in San Mateo County” project in schools, city halls, the county jail, nursing facilities and local libraries. In April 2020, she curated the community poem, “Love in the Time of COVID-19 for Healthcare Workers and Other Frontliners,” which raised funds for the San Mateo County Health Foundation and was featured in the Mystic Seaport Museum in Connecticut, the Alzheimer’s Poetry Project in Minnesota, the Montgomery Independent School District in Texas, the Japanese American National Museum in Los Angeles, and the Maui Arts and Cultural Center in Hawaii. In January 2021, she released the poetry anthology, I Have a Dream: Inaugural Poems for a New Generation featuring poems by 115 San Mateo County students ages six to sixteen. A 2021 National Youth Poet Laureate Competition judge, Cassinetto helped establish annual youth poetry competitions and youth poet laureate programs in San Mateo County, and is currently working on expanding an ecopoetry program in collaboration with local groups. She received an Academy of American Poets Laureate Fellowship in 2021.
In 2021, Aileen Cassinetto was named an Academy of American Poets Laureate Fellow. The fellowship will support the work of a cohort of twenty youth eco-poets selected in collaboration with local librarians and teachers. The eco-poets will participate in a series of workshops led by Cassinetto and field trips to deepen their understanding of San Mateo County's ecology, and to allow them to express the intricate, layered connections between nature, culture, and people through poetry. Cassinetto also plans to collaborate with the College of San Mateo’s film and digital media departments to document the project. The footage will be used in a short poetry docu-film featuring the youth eco-poets’ experiences as they craft their poems. The film will be distributed to the county’s school districts and libraries, as well as the U.N.’s Youth Advisory Group on Climate Change, and will be shown at the College of San Mateo’s twelfth Asian American Film Festival and the Youth Ecopoetry Exhibit at the San Mateo County Fair.