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.
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


335 Pieces

Order by: Newest First | Oldest First
Caption: We all miss the wild buffalo. Not so much You Know Who., Credit: Susan Cook
Election Day has come and gone! Remember the poll that really counts most always is the vote you cast. To the tune from "It's Beginning to Look A ...

  • Added: Oct 30, 2020
  • Length: 04:18
Caption: "If you can loot businesses, burn down buildings, engage in protest- you can also go to a Christmas party.' Dec 2, 2020 White House Press Secretary, Credit: Susan Cook
As the Nation enters the Christmas (and Hannukah) Season with parties (ahem..) on hold, In the Department of Poetic Justice (and Reckoning), a lyr...

  • Added: Dec 05, 2020
  • Length: 03:15
Caption: He didn't do it alone., Credit: Susan Cook
In the Department of Poetic Justice, the ode to 2020 and caucasian, male, non-mask wearing arrogant reality - like that of the now closed Institute...

  • Added: Jan 01, 2021
  • Length: 03:50

  • Added: Jan 19, 2021
  • Length: 01:42
Caption: More poems in the tradition: Breathng: American Sonnets, Credit: Susan Cook
On her birthday, a Sonnet Sequence "The Rage of the World" .

Bought by KICI Iowa City


  • Added: Apr 01, 2024
  • Length: 02:24
  • Purchases: 1
Caption: "...they are taking justice out in the backyard..., Credit: In "Breathing: American Sonnets" by Susan Cook
A sonnet about justice when it is buried and forgotten.

Bought by KICI Iowa City


  • Added: Mar 06, 2021
  • Length: 01:34
  • Purchases: 1
Caption: ...your business in life, to do good and to do good for evil..., Credit: Susan Cook
My father often said his mother always told him, "Do good for evil." It's drawn from the Bible "This is your calling, your business in life- to do...

Bought by KICI Iowa City


  • Added: Mar 27, 2021
  • Length: 01:07
  • Purchases: 1
Caption: "Breathing: American Sonnets", Credit: Susan Cook
Poetry makes everything accessible, even the Special Theory of Relativity.

  • Added: Apr 01, 2024
  • Length: :51
Caption: "Breathing: American Sonnets", Credit: Susan Cook
Poetry Month and Einstein creating E=mc squared

Bought by KICI Iowa City


  • Added: Jan 05, 2024
  • Length: :55
  • Purchases: 1
Caption: "Breathing: American Sonnets", Credit: Susan Cook
Upon the passing of Dr Peter Higgs, a Sonnet to explain how the Higgs boson comes into our lives.

Bought by KICI Iowa City


  • Added: Apr 01, 2024
  • Length: :49
  • Purchases: 1
Caption: "Breathing: American Sonnets", Credit: Susan Cook
Thomas Edison and what his light did- understood through an American Sonnet.

Bought by KICI Iowa City


  • Added: Apr 14, 2021
  • Length: :55
  • Purchases: 1
Caption: Breathing; American Sonnets, Credit: Susan Cook (Finishing Line, 2020))
In the large, large universe, the mind's eye still sees what it will.

Bought by KICI Iowa City


  • Added: Apr 14, 2021
  • Length: :57
  • Purchases: 1
Caption: There's a quote from the Bible I've taken to lately..., Credit: Edgar Cook
There are many many examples of malice these days. And then there are the opportunities to do good.

  • Added: Aug 22, 2021
  • Length: 03:28
Caption: ...wide river as ever..., Credit: Susan Cook
The Supreme Court decision to ignore the inhumane aspects of the Texas Abortion law reminds us to look to the places where human connection is val...

  • Added: Sep 03, 2021
  • Length: 08:17
Caption: "Breathing: American Sonnets", Credit: Susan Cook
Getting vaccinated and wearing a mask may be all there is to making someone happy in Covid-19 times.

Bought by KMXT


  • Added: Nov 26, 2021
  • Length: 03:52
  • Purchases: 1