Buffalo’s First Poet Laureate to Perform at Daemen

By | February 15, 2022

Daemen students have the opportunity to share their creative writing at the college’s Poetry Showcase – to be held Feb. 23 from 5:30-7 p.m. in Alumni Lounge – alongside Buffalo’s first poet laureate, Jillian Hanesworth, who will perform at the event.

The showcase is part of Daemen’s celebration of Black History Month put on by Daemen’s Office of Diversity and Inclusion. Students are encouraged to submit their work via the event form by Monday, Feb. 21.

Hanesworth will also sign copies of her new book, The Revolution Will Rhyme, for students at the event. 

“Most of my poetry is rooted in principles of sustainability change and social justice. These are the themes I want to present during the showcase to Daemen students,” said Hanesworth.

Her background is in counseling, advocacy and organizing. As Buffalo’s first poet laureate, she works from experience to convey these themes in a poetic package. 

Hanesworth says she is committed to empowering citizens to take part in creating social change through her poet laureate role – and has performed in Buffalo, New York City, Baltimore, Toronto, and other major population centers. 

“The poems I write are not just something that rhymes and sounds nice,” Hanesworth explained. “I’ve actually studied social issues in our community and learned how to speak truth about power and identity.”

Promoting community empowerment

Hanesworth’s main vision as poet laureate is to encourage community empowerment. 

“There are many changes our communities need to make. Growing up in the East Side, my world view was centered around a segregated, impoverished community. The option of community change was not presented to us. Now, we can demand and create substantial, sustainable change,” she said.  

More to discover

Hanesworth is also currently working on a project called Buffalo Books to install small library houses throughout the East Side, filling them with books from local authors to promote literacy access. 

Her goal is to have the first 15 libraries available in the early spring, and eventually expand outside the East Side.  

KeyBank discovered Hanesworth’s GoFundMe page for the project and approached her to be featured in one of their latest commercials. 

To view the commercial, and learn more about Haneworth’s work, visit her website, www.jillthepoet.com.