ITHACA, N.Y.—Ithaca native, community leader, professor and activist Dr. Nia Nunn celebrated the release of her new poetry book, “Deep Breath,” with a reading and signing event at One World Market, where a new mural honors Nunn’s extensive work in the community.

Nunn designed the book with the intention of helping “individuals, groups and organizations strengthen the culture of their community and social consciousness,” and a curriculum including discussion questions and exercises is included.

Friends and supporters of Nunn gathered at One World Market at two events on Wednesday to get their hands on a copy, say hi and listen to a reading of one of the works from the book, which is described as “a self-study within a collective, Dr. Nia Nunn’s methodology as a mother-scholar-educator-psychologist-community leader, and poet builds Black consciousness and serves as an invitation to critically reflect and uncover ourselves.”

Before beginning the spoken-word reading, Nunn shouted out Justin Suarez, the Rochester-based muralist who was commissioned for the mural in One World Market, which Nunn also used as her book cover. In part, the book is meant to be educational, a curriculum of sorts for those interested in inclusive community building.

“Essentially I’m putting my methodology into a children’s book for adults — in it I offer some of the poems that I’ve written, some from 10 years ago and some from two and a half weeks ago. It tells the story of my storytelling,” Nunn said, adding that her love of storytelling came after she was almost held back in grade school for not advancing with reading.

The book is also designed with QR codes throughout that redirect readers to sounds and music that go along with each piece. A reading of “Deep Breath,” the poem the book is named after, can be watched here, and the book can be purchased here.

Zoë Freer-Hessler

Zoë Freer-Hessler is a general assignment reporter for the Ithaca Voice. She has covered a wide range of topics since joining the news organization in November 2021. She can be reached at zhessler@ithacavoice.com...