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commUNITY spotlight: Buffalo's first Poet Laureate

Jillian Hanesworth, 28, was named the City of Buffalo's first Poet Laureate.

BUFFALO, N.Y. — Buffalo is full of firsts, and when the nation saw a Poet Laureate on inauguration day, it wasn't long before the city got on board.

Jillian Hanesworth, 28, was named the City of Buffalo's first Poet Laureate.

Her work inspires and causes listeners to pause and think.

"I didn't necessarily want to be the first Poet Laureate, I felt like there's so many other poets who are more experienced than me," Hanesworth said. "But I just wanted the position established, and when we started talking about what the poet laureate would do exactly, I realized that it was what I was already doing to a tee."

Watch her interview with Channel 2's Claudine Ewing and hear how she went to Buffalo councilmembers to name a Poet Laureate.

"I perform at official city of Buffalo, events, or I'll attend events on behalf of the city," Hanesworth said. "It might be peace vigils, it might be balloon releases, things like that where it might not be appropriate to have a politician's voice, but you still need some sort of official capacity saying we recognize what's happening in your life or your community, and that's where I get to step in and do poetry instead of making a speech."

When asked if she believes she is making a difference, Hanesworth said, "I do believe I can make a difference. I believe everybody can. Am I making a difference right now? Honestly, when I look at my day-to-day activities, it doesn't always feel like it."

Watch the complete episode of commUNITY here: