Eat, Drink & Speak Poetry in San Mateo County!

A Holiday Poetry Reading and Community Virtual Gathering presented by San Mateo County Libraries, hosted by San Mateo County Poet Laureate Aileen Cassinetto. Featuring poetry by San Mateo County Poets Laureate Emerita Caroline Goodwin and Lisa Rosenberg, San Mateo County Commissioner Virginia Chang Kiraly, local poets Megan Brown, Joe Cottonwood, Hilary King, Phyllis Klein, Monica Korde, Hilary Cruz Mejia, Diane Moomey, Carol Park, Tony Press, and David Ruettiger.

The de Young Open

Congratulations to Paloma Press book designer C. Sophia Ibardaloza for being featured in the de Young Open Exhibition!

Artist’s statement:

“My art poses questions about belonging and at the same time celebrates the human experience. I like experimenting with various media and recycling found objects to show that nothing is irredeemable. In my time-based media installation, “panahon / time,” I incorporate video art, visual arts and poetry to reconstruct perceptions of time. Time is relative even as in the West we think of it as unidirectional. For example, my installation opens with an old film clip of a traditional rice millstone to represent my culture’s belief in “gulong ng palad” or wheel of fate. The installation as a whole is a way of reclaiming stories passed down through generations such as the right to love and the meaning of home in exile. The third part of the anthology shows unfinished sketches of racial struggle coming together over time to form a more complete image that is representative of that famous arc as it finally bends toward justice.”

The exhibition is now open to the public.

“Marcelina”: A Reading by Jean Vengua

Welcome to the launch of MARCELINA by Jean Vengua. This poetry chapbook is a meditation on the murder of Cecilia Navarro in 1930s Central California. The life of Navarro and her place in an earlier Filipino migrant community is explored in the documentary “The Celine Archive” which recently won the 2020 Los Angeles Independent Film Festival Award. The film will premiere at CAAMFest (formerly the San Francisco International Asian American Film Festival) on October 14 through October 18, and Jean Vengua along with the film director Celine Shimizu and historian Catherine Ceniza Choy will be in conversation after every screening. With gratitude to Celine Shimizu for allowing us to use the film’s trailer for this event.

Peninsula Virtual Bookfest

September/October 2020
Peninsula Virtual Bookfest

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 feature 60 authors, in collaboration with the Burlingame Public Library, the Daly City Public Library, the San Mateo County Libraries and the South San Francisco Public Library, and local booksellers.


Welcome message from San Mateo County Supervisor Carole Groom and local librarians

September 2, 1pm PT
Burlingame Public Library presents a virtual bookfest featuring NPR’s Malaka Gharib, Sari-Sari Storybooks’ Christina Newhard & NYT bestselling YA author Erin Entrada Kelly. Webinar/FB Live. (Fiction, Middle School/YA)

September 7, 5pm PT
San Mateo County Libraries presents a virtual bookfest featuring Irenosen Okojie, London-based author & winner of the 2020 AKO Caine Prize for African Writing, Murzban Shroff, Mumbai-based author & recipient of the John Gilgun Fiction Award, and Ricco Siasoco, San Francisco-based author & National Endowment for the Humanities Fellow. Facebook Watch Party. (Fiction)

September 10, 6pm PT
Burlingame Public Library presents a virtual bookfest featuring Thea Matthews with MK Chavez, Natasha Dennerstein & Tongo Eisen-Martin. Webinar/FB Live.(Poetry)

September 16, 6pm PT
Daly City Public Library presents a virtual bookfest featuring Veronica Montes with Alan Chazaro, Elsa Valmidiano & Ricco Siasoco. Webinar/FB Live. (Fiction)

September 17, 6pm PT
Daly City Public Library presents a virtual bookfest featuring Barbara Jane Reyes with Arlene Biala, Marianne Chan, Janice Lobo Sapigao & Jean Vengua. Webinar/FB Live. (Poetry)

September 21, 2:30pm PT
Burlingame Public Library presents a virtual bookfest featuring Ellen Bass, Hugh Behm-Steinberg, Danusha Lameris, hosted by San Mateo County Poet Laureate Emerita Lisa Rosenberg. Webinar/FB Live. (Poetry)

September 21, 6pm PT
San Mateo County Libraries presents a virtual bookfest featuring Johanna Ely, Joel Katz, Phyllis Klein, Ron Riekki, Jacki Rigoni, Kim Shuck, Tanuja Wakefield & July Westhale. Hosted by San Mateo County Inaugural Poet Laureate Caroline Goodwin. FB Live/SMCL YouTube Channel. (Poetry)

September 22, 6pm PT
Daly City Public Library presents a virtual bookfest featuring Janet Stickmon with Michelle Bautista, Herna Cruz-Louie & Melinda Luisa de Jesus. Webinar/FB Live. (Nonfiction)

September 24, 6pm PT
Daly City Public Library presents a virtual bookfest featuring Maw Shein Win with Jennifer Hasegawa, Jenny Qi & Audrey T. Williams. Webinar/FB Live. (Poetry)

September 30, 6pm PT
San Mateo County Libraries presents a virtual bookfest featuring Carole Bumpus, Joan Gelfand, Audrey Kalman & Geri Spieler, with California Writers Club Immediate Past President Lisa Meltzer Penn. FB Live/SMCL Youtube Channel. (Fiction/Nonfiction)

October (details TBA)
Tureeda Mikell, Dena Rod, Michael Simms and more.

October 3, 1pm PT
South San Francisco Public Library presents a virtual bookfest featuring children’s book authors Christina Newhard, Gayle Romasanta & Justine Villanueva, and illustrator Lynnor Bontigao. Webinar/FB Live. (Fiction/Nonfiction)

October 5, 5pm PT
San Mateo County Libraries presents a virtual bookfest featuring Cody Tolmasoff. SMCL YouTube Channel. (Middle School/YA Fiction)

October 13, 3pm PT
San Mateo County Libraries presents a virtual bookfest with devorah major, Jason Bayani & James Cagney. FB Live/SMCL Youtube Channel. (Poetry)

October 26, 5pm PT
San Mateo County Libraries presents a virtual bookfest featuring Francesca Bell, Barbara Berman, Joe Cottonwood, Peter N. Carroll, Ken Haas, Kathleen McClung, Connie Post, & Lee Rossi. Hosted by San Mateo County Poet Laureate Emerita Lisa Rosenberg. Facebook Watch Party/SMCL Youtube Channel. (Poetry)

October 29 (details TBA)

Please click here for the full schedule.

Power to the Poets: Vote for Change

Thursday, July 30, 2020, 5pm Pacific

Power to the Poets: Vote for Change


Via FB Live

Hosts: Aileen Cassinetto, Tony Robles & Poetess April J. Armstrong

Featuring (in order of appearance):

Bethlehem and Sad Patrick combine soul, jazz, folk, vocals, guitar and percussion to deliver powerful songs on universal themes — the struggles of modern society, life in the city, and love and heartbreak. The Philadelphia duo has released “Did You Ever Do?”, a polished set showcasing their skills in the studio realm.

Harini Krishnan is the Joe Biden District Delegate to the 2020 Democratic National Convention, the California Democratic Party’s 22nd AD Delegate, a Town of Hillsborough 2020 Citizen of the year Award Recipient, a FUND HER Board Member, an Equal Access International Board Member & Chair of Fund Development Committee. Harini is also an Indian Classical Vocalist & Lecturer, a Harvard Kennedy School Public Leadership Program Candidate as well as Vice Chair of the San Mateo County Arts Commission.

John Wesley Shipp is an award-winning actor, director and political activist. He is known for The Flash, Dawson’s Creek and NYPD Blue. He is currently based in New York.

Karen Bryant Shipp is a singer, organist, and choral director who works as Minister of Music at Oakhurst Baptist Church in Decatur, GA, a progressive Baptist church where she is given the freedom to explore not only all kinds of music, but other religions and ideas. Karen was ordained at Oakhurst in November 2010. She is a political activist who comes from a family of civil rights activists.

James Cagney is a poet from Oakland. He is a Cave Canem Fellow and VONA alum, both programs that foster Black writers. He has performed in venues and museums throughout the San Francisco Bay Area and beyond. His first book, Black Steel Magnolias In The Hour of Chaos Theory, is out now by Nomadic Press.

Kai Coggin is a poet, author, and teaching artist living in the valley of a small mountain in Hot Springs National Park, AR. She is the author of three full-length collections, PERISCOPE HEART, WINGSPAN, and INCANDESCENT, as well as a spoken word album called SILHOUETTE. Her poetry has been nominated three times for The Pushcart Prize, as well as Bettering American Poetry 2015, and Best of the Net 2016 and 2018. Kai is a Teaching Artist with the Arkansas Arts Council and Arkansas Learning Through the Arts, and is also the host of the longest running consecutive weekly open mic series in the country, Wednesday Night Poetry.

Indigo Moor is an educator, scriptwriter, award-winning author, and former Poet Laureate of Sacramento. His full-length play “Live! at the Excelsior” was a finalist for the Images Theatre Playwright Award and has been optioned for a film. His latest poetry collection, Everybody’s Jonesin’ for Something (The Backwater Prize in Poetry Honorable Mention Series), is forthcoming from the University of Nebraska Press in March 2021. Indigo spends his days cleverly disguised as a mild-mannered Physical Design Engineer for computer companies.

Tony Robles, “The People’s Poet,” was born in San Francisco and currently resides in Hendersonville, NC, where he is the Carl Sandburg Writer-in-Residence. A San Francisco Art Commission Individual Artist Grantee, he was short-list nominated for poet laureate of San Francisco in 2017 and was a Pushcart Prize nominee in 2011. Tony is currently Assistant Publisher at The Cheerful Word.

Raymond Tyler is an Atlantic City-based broadcaster, artist, and producer. He hosts The Saturday Night Mix Tape on FM 91.7 WLFR and The Atlantic City on FM 96.1 WTTH. He has worked as a columnist for The Shore Weekly and as a graphic artist/cartoonist for Essence, Vibe and The Source magazines, New York Press and The Philadelphia Weekly. Ray is the founder of The Arts and Media Think Tank and co-owner of The Little Wellness Arts Center and Gallery.

Poetess April J. Armstrong is a South Carolina-based poet, voice-over narrator, and entrepreneur. The author of the poetry collection, A Glass Mirror, April is also the radio/TV host of “Your Oral Diktion” at Black Love Poetry Series.

Hailing from the Bronx in New York, Timothy Proctor was born on January 16,1973. “Mr. Wispers” was a childhood nickname turned pen name when he picked up the artful skill of writing short stories and raps at age 12. Timothy began ghostwriting at 16 and eventually, became a ghostwriter of poetry to well known actors and actresses in Hollywood, CA. He also began honing his poetic skills as a performing artist at the world-renowned Nuyurican. Mr. Wispers is currently whispering yet another poetry album entitled Genesis 1:16. Go look that up, his goal is to be a star.

Tynea Smith is the CEO and founder of the Still Breathing Movement Inc., curator of the Cup of Tee segment and new radio host on the Black Love Poetry Network. Writing since the age of 11 with poetry featured in various anthologies, she has shared the stage with some of the best spoken word artists, under the pseudonym, Prophetic Poet. She now goes by Queen T. She is determined to give life and bring healing with her words as long as God will allow her pen to drop ink.

Lydia Cook also recognized as BornToWrite the Poet is an award-winning spoken word poet, author and inspirational speaker. Her mission and calling is to empower, encourage, and inspire diverse audiences globally. Cook has self published two books to date and her work is featured in five anthologies and in Tennessee and Ohio public libraries. In 2015, Lydia became “Toastmaster Cook,” earning her Competent Communicator Certification from Toastmaster International. Cook is currently an up and coming blog talk radio host with Black Love Poetry Series Network. On the BornToWrite Variety Show, Lydia interviews, and presents her written works “poetic, radio dramas” (mini skits).

Aquil Ali is a proud father of five daughters, one son, and five grands. He is a 30 year veteran of poetry and radio, CEO/Founder of Black Love Poetry Series, host of The Aquil Ali Show with April J., and Honorable Judge Aquil Ali on Hip Hop Court. Owner of Tri-State Dental Lab, in business now for over 50 years, he is also the author of Grindstone 4 Life and Memoirs of a 3x Ex-husband. Currently, Aquil is working on the next Black Love Poetry Series Network endeavors, including getting back into the studios at PeopleTV 24 Channel in Atlanta.

Emunah The Poetess is a wife and mother of 2 and loves all forms of writing, but takes a special interest in poetry. She hopes to become a published author one day and has surpassed her goal of writing 1000 poems.

Elijah Pringle III is a Philadelphia poet, lyric baritone, composer, actor, and artivist. He is the author of At the Cornerstone, Feeding the Sparrow, and Second Saturday at Serenity, and has appeared on radio, TV & stage. He has been quoted in print in Newsweek, The New York Times, The Philadelphia Daily News, and others. He credits his true education to five generations of teachers.

POWER TO THE POETS is a live reading series curated by Aileen Cassinetto. We’ll be broadcasting live on this event page. Video will appear as a post under the Discussion tab. The reading will be archived here.