The River Is Wide

Series produced by Susan J. Cook

Caption: "Breathing: American Sonnets", Credit: Susan Cook
Image by: Susan Cook 
"Breathing: American Sonnets" 

The River Is Wide is one listener's complement to public radio as media that has always made room for thoughtful discourse about human decency and prevention of harm. Susan Cook, poet, political activist and psychotherapist writes and produces The River Is Wide series. She is the author of "Breathing: American Sonnets" published by Finishing Line Press in December 2020 (GulfofMaineBooks@gmail.com, Shermans.com). A playlist for National Poetry Month featuring her American Sonnets, Citizen's Guides, the occasional Congressional Guide, an Ode when no other format seems appropriate, A Sixty Second Moral Inquiry from time to time, a Department of Poetic Justice (and Reckoning) with a song and dance genre section suitable for singing to melodies from The Great American Wrongbook, brief essay-ish commentaries, "Bad Internet 101: Moral Development for Cyberspace" "The Indifference Diaries", "It's Not What You're Given; It's What You Do With What You Get", and NEW! "Civil Liberties for Lifelong Learners" all speak to the many events every day that change our lives. All of these parts of The River Is Wide series tell the story that belongs to everyone at some time in life- the times when crossing the river is very very difficult to do. Public radio that stirs the public conscience- free of personal influence peddling- that values thoughtful voice and speaks truth above partisan rhetoric - helps us all get across.

The series began rowing when a local editor refused to publish a letter he called "uncivil" for criticizing an independent candidate for governor for a failure to acknowledge human rights violations by the Chinese government. When the independent Governor Candidate was asked at a forum why he was continuing to push to bring Chinese businesses to Maine with no recognition of China's atrocious human rights violations, the candidate leered "What?" The questioner told him "We are not going to ignore your disregard for human rights." "Bring it on", he sneered. In 2022, the candidate was convicted of possession of child pornography.
Another inspiration has been censorship by a local public radio station of a 30 year jazz radio program whose producer dared to talk in 2003- about disliking war and the Iraq War in particular. After refusing to sign a list of Employee Guidelines censoring his speech as an independent, non-journalist producer who was paid $30 a program, he quit. The event remains small-minded and partisan on the part of a public broadcasting station better known as broad-minded and thoughtful. In trying times, public discourse (and unfettered, fact-checked, non-violent public radio) helps uncover the moral underpinnings keeping us free. Firing and demeaning the questioner is as morally constrictive as firing the messenger. The River is Wide rides that current.
We hope there will never come a day when the public conscience (and mine) ignore a flagrant omission of concern for human rights. Speaking truth to power about those omissions is the task of The River Is Wide series.

The series began rowing when a local editor refused to publish a letter criticizing a political candidate for a failure to acknowledge human rights violations by the Chinese government calling it "uncivil". When the former Candidate for Governor (who in 2022 was convicted as a child pornographer) at a public forum was asked why he ignored the human rights violations, he replied, "What? Bring it on," he sneered. Another inspiration has been the censorship of "The humble Farmer" by Maine Public broadcasting for speaking against the Iraq War. A collection of American Sonnets for National Poetry Month, Citizen's Guides, The Indifference Diaries, Odes I and lyrics in the Department of Poetic Justice, and Sixty Second Moral Inquiries speak to issues that the public conscience (and mine) won't let us ignore and speak truth to power (everyone else's) especially surrounding freedom of speech in the media, injustice and harm. Hide full description

The series began rowing when a local editor refused to publish a letter criticizing a political candidate for a failure to acknowledge human rights violations by the Chinese government calling it "uncivil". When the former Candidate for Governor (who in 2022 was convicted as a child pornographer) at a public forum was asked why he ignored the human rights violations, he replied, "What? Bring it on," he sneered. Another inspiration has been the censorship of "The humble Farmer" by Maine Public broadcasting for speaking against the Iraq War. A collection of American Sonnets for National Poetry Month, Citizen's Guides, The Indifference Diaries, Odes I and lyrics in the Department of Poetic Justice, and Sixty Second Moral Inquiries speak to issues that the public conscience (and mine)... Show full description


338 Pieces

Order by: Newest First | Oldest First
Caption: "Breathing: American Sonnets", Credit: Susan Cook
Civil Disobedience means maintaining civility- a new lesson from Peace activists protesting at a Naval Destroyer christening and the Police Who Ar...

  • Added: Jun 23, 2019
  • Length: 05:35
Caption: "There should be a way so that everybody could know everybody.", Credit: Susan Cook
On the Fresh Air episode, "For Facebook Content Moderators, Traumatizing Material is a Job Hazard", a Silicon Valley journalist plumbed Facebook's ...

  • Added: Jul 03, 2019
  • Length: 08:21
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The 54th anniversary of the Moon Landing reminds some of us that violence toward women and girls is still minimized.

  • Added: Jul 22, 2019
  • Length: 06:29
Caption: When you wish..., Credit: Susan Cook
As Mr. Mueller testifies before Congressional Committees, a look back and forward to Democracy's dimming light.

  • Added: Jul 25, 2019
  • Length: 04:08
Caption: ..intention for good..., Credit: Susan Cook
Sustaining intention for good means we understand that permission for violence makes a gun what it is: a creator of violence. At a Maine vigil, th...

  • Added: Aug 11, 2019
  • Length: 06:46
Caption: An uninformed New York Times reporter didn't know termination reasons are already recorded..., Credit: Susan Cook
A conviction of a protester outside of a Planned Parenthood clinic brings up the question: when will the severity of the violence that follows fr...

  • Added: Aug 24, 2019
  • Length: 08:49
Caption: Their "First Dance" was to the Country-Western song "Count on Me".
Those who sign on for white water rafting trips, fishing and hunting day trips are hoping to find a few hours or so of Great Abandon, an experience...

Bought by WOUB


  • Added: Sep 02, 2019
  • Length: 06:41
  • Purchases: 1
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A new exhibit at the Holocaust and Human Rights Center in Maine called "Finding Our Voices: Ending the Silence of Domestic Abuse" opened just befo...

  • Added: Sep 09, 2019
  • Length: 09:31
Caption: Maybe sometime in the night when the wind blows..., Credit: Susan Cook
Greta Thunberg, in her UN Climate Change speech called on threatened loss of the loved, in her view, the environment to bring action on climate c...

  • Added: Dec 14, 2019
  • Length: 05:17
Caption: Memorable words from 2019: "We'll be in total coordination with the White House... , Credit: Susan Cook
Auld Lang Syne for 2019: Fitbits, Cerebellum and Walking My Impeachment Articles Back Home!

  • Added: Dec 30, 2019
  • Length: 04:38
Caption: Taking my time..., Credit: Susan Cook"
As Nancy Pelosi gets ready to hand-deliver the Articles of Impeachment to Mitch McConnell in Kentucky at his home when she gets there from her home...

  • Added: Dec 30, 2019
  • Length: 01:51
Caption: Leaning back...he asked "Who rules the world?", Credit: Susan Cook
Censorship of anti-war statements is now and always has been a threat to our nation's stability and the world's safety.

  • Added: Jan 10, 2020
  • Length: 07:10
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March brings us Sunshine Week, an annual honoring of the ethical and legal obligation for Transparency of Public Records and the Freedom of Informa...

  • Added: Jan 28, 2020
  • Length: 07:22
Caption: "Breathing: American Sonnets", Credit: Susan Cook
As Gwen Ifill is honored, as the Holocaust murders of the ancestors of Terry Gross are revealed, in the aftermath of the harassing effort to intim...

  • Added: Jan 31, 2020
  • Length: 01:02
Caption: My 220,000 mile transmission, Credit: Susan Cook
In honor of the Iowa Caucus App Developers, lyrics for The Great American Wrongbook in The Dept. of Poetic Justice (and Reckoning). Hey, it ...

  • Added: Feb 04, 2020
  • Length: 04:34
Caption: Nice work if you can get it..., Credit: Susan Cook
Now that Mainers have said "NO!" to CMP and Avengrid destroying the North Woods, a lyrical tribute from the Great American Wrongbook!

  • Added: Mar 06, 2020
  • Length: 02:19
Caption: ...all doing their part, Credit: Susan Cook
The pandemic has brought much repurposing for good. As the current President comes to Maine for Public Relations at a factory churning out 1 milli...

  • Added: Jun 05, 2020
  • Length: 07:32
Caption: "There are house flies in the suburbs who are thinking while they laugh along with Sunday Hackers... 'Maybe his fly swatter works best?', Credit: Susan Cook
No False Equivalence here! The Pandemic. Trillions of Dollars of National Debt! And You Know Whose Extra Golf Strokes! Counting Every One!

  • Added: Aug 21, 2020
  • Length: 07:10
Caption: ...Down on Santa Claus Lane..., Credit: Susan Cook
A lyrical tribute from one Special Viewer observing the 2020 Republican National Convention and a certain Pardon being given by You Know Who!

  • Added: Nov 28, 2020
  • Length: 05:00
Caption: Adolescents, the life cycle's truthtellers, any paleobiologist, or historian knows truth matters..., Credit: Susan Cook
In 2007, after the Iraq War began, Truth was traded freely for access to Power. The consequence of today's hemorrhaging of Truth requires more than...

  • Added: Aug 04, 2020
  • Length: 09:02