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


339 Pieces

Order by: Newest First | Oldest First
Piece image
Mandated term limits for Congressional members gets batted around now and then as a possible solution for gridlock which some say is driven by the...

  • Added: May 21, 2013
  • Length: 03:46
Caption: "Breathing: American Sonnets", Credit: Susan Cook
This is a sonnet for the baseball teams who after the tragedy at the Boston Marathon each played the song the Boston Red Sox play during a game w...

Bought by KICI Iowa City


  • Added: Jan 12, 2020
  • Length: :54
  • Purchases: 1
Caption: ...the anonymous collaboration called humanity..., Credit: Susan Cook
Great affirmation of human purpose is the victory for those who watch the runners and wheelchairs racers come in at the Boston Marathon. They are ...

  • Added: Apr 28, 2013
  • Length: 06:13
Piece image
Recently, a man convicted of aiding the prostitution of a young woman who was exploited by over 150 men, was given a 3 week sentence. This sente...

  • Added: Apr 06, 2013
  • Length: 03:45
Caption: There are experts that agree with you, Mr. Roubini,  the Grand Lake Stream Guides., Credit: Susan Cook
In Maine, Bass fishing on West Grand Lake is a destination respite for many, including Mr. Nouriel Roubini, the legendary economist who was almost ...

  • Added: Mar 23, 2013
  • Length: 03:18
Caption: We should treat the truth better than that., Credit: Susan Cook
Corrupting the Message: Remembering the Iraq War Ten years ago this week, the Iraq War began. Like every other atrocity in history, or let's limi...

  • Added: Mar 18, 2013
  • Length: 03:48
Caption: What has happened to those pine tree shaped air fresheners?, Credit: Susan Cook
Let us pause and pine for those deeply scented pine-tree shaped air fresheners that hung from the rear view mirror, just small enough to avoid obst...

  • Added: Mar 09, 2013
  • Length: 01:36
Caption: Fishing guides spend their days reading the water, seeing fish., Credit: Susan Cook
The strident opponents of a rapid, unregulated re-introduction of alewives to the St. Croix believe that at one important juncture in the river, ...

  • Added: Feb 21, 2013
  • Length: 04:40
Piece image
The lessons of D.L. Rosenhan's 40 year old study of psychiatric patients "plagerised" psychiatric diagnosis to see if they would be detected as fra...

  • Added: Feb 03, 2013
  • Length: 06:18
Caption: "Breathing: American Sonnets", Credit: Susan Cook
Are you concerned about your child emailing too much? Are you concerned about the effect on a child's spine of a head bent over a gaming system for...

  • Added: Feb 05, 2014
  • Length: 03:03
Caption: Maine Guide William Sewall and Teddy Roosevelt, Credit: Theodore Roosevelt Collection, Harvard College Library (detail) 520.12-015
Just before the Olympics, the country if not the world received, from a bully pulpit, a message from my state's junior United States senator. On te...

  • Added: Jan 25, 2014
  • Length: 03:30
Caption: "Breathing: American Sonnets", Credit: Susan Cook
Those who grew up in the era of Richard Nixon knew a time when "The Kingdom" took an especially frightening aura of power and glory. One speaking t...

  • Added: Jan 12, 2014
  • Length: 04:39
Caption: "...as close as you can to the truth, that wild horse that once you catch..., Credit: Susan Cook
The Sixty-Second Moral Inquiry asks questions about what is right and wrong. Today's Sixty-Second Moral Inquiry asks: Why not mangle,`distort the i...

  • Added: Jan 10, 2014
  • Length: 01:04
Caption: "Breathing: American Sonnets", Credit: Susan Cook
The mid-term elections are almost upon us. Now that Obama care is working, what political issues might be nearby? What will help us make good choic...

  • Added: Jan 03, 2014
  • Length: 03:13
Caption: "Breathing: American Sonnets", Credit: Susan Cook
After Nelson Mandela was freed from the life sentence he was serving in prison, he often spoke about refusing bitterness toward his captors. But h...

  • Added: Dec 06, 2013
  • Length: 02:54
Caption: New Managed car regulations require us to cover more items than we did before and our company has decided that is Unaffordable... we are cancelling your policy.", Credit: Susan Cook
Well, we thought it might happen. Over at Automobile Behavioral Health they are cancelling managed car insurance policies because the new "required...

  • Added: Nov 04, 2013
  • Length: 03:39
Caption: "Breathing: American Sonnets", Credit: Susan Cook
Having survived the most recent episode of Gridlock by the skin of the Nation's teeth, we beyond the Beltway need to put our collective relational...

  • Added: Oct 19, 2013
  • Length: 03:26
Caption: "Breathing: American Sonnets", Credit: Susan Cook
Boys' State is an experiment in Democracy that a select group of high school boys attend in Maine this week. We can hope they will learn about the...

  • Added: Oct 17, 2013
  • Length: 06:00
Caption: "Breathing: American Sonnets", Credit: Susan Cook
In the 1950’s and 1960’s American citizens and the stalwart among them who were brave enough to run for political office had to learn to live with...

  • Added: Oct 31, 2014
  • Length: 06:04
Caption: "Breathing: American Sonnets", Credit: Susan Cook
If Woodward and Bernstein and Ben Bradlee had gone for the “gotcha” instead of the truth, the cost would have been the truth. The integrity that ...

  • Added: Oct 25, 2014
  • Length: 04:45