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
Caption: "Breathing: American Sonnets", Credit: Susan Cook
When we see the tools of discrediting the truth happily taken on, now or in history- we might say this. The cost of the truth is, it turns out, th...

  • Added: Oct 11, 2014
  • Length: 11:09
Caption: ...always a sailor., Credit: Susan Cook
My now 86 year old brother , is still, and has been his whole life, a sailor. His boat “Significant Other”, a J-24 racing yacht will carry two. ...

  • Added: Sep 21, 2014
  • Length: 03:07
Caption: Breathing: American Sonnets, Credit: Poems by Susan Cook
On the anniversary of September 11, In Memoriam , "The Fall" (submitted 9/16/2013 in "Blue: American Sonnets" to the Beatrice Hawley (now Alice Ja...

Bought by KICI Iowa City


  • Added: Apr 01, 2024
  • Length: 01:03
  • Purchases: 1
Caption: "Breathing: American Sonnets", Credit: Susan Cook
The cost of the truth is not tied to inflation. It’s tied to tolerance, inversely. The more tolerance that exists, the lower the price paid for the...

  • Added: Sep 06, 2014
  • Length: 04:23
Caption: "Breathing: American Sonnets", Credit: Susan Cook
The truth can be our moral antidote, our moral medicine, the vitamin that- yes, if someone is trying to tell us that nine dollars and something is ...

  • Added: Oct 04, 2014
  • Length: 04:23
Caption: "Breathing: American Sonnets", Credit: Susan Cook
The public officials and the political candidates who shape public discourse through the impulsive and shallow convey far more about their ethics t...

  • Added: Aug 23, 2014
  • Length: 04:21
Caption: A migratory bird without a home..., Credit: Susan Cook
Legislative ethics exist to put the brakes on political gamesmanship- whether it’s trading votes to pass a bill, get a fat salaried new Federal job...

  • Added: Aug 20, 2014
  • Length: 10:07
Caption: "Breathing: American Sonnets", Credit: Susan Cook
Internet search engines have no way of taking context into consideration. The closest Google has come is to hone the search by user’s zip code, wh...

  • Added: Jul 27, 2014
  • Length: 06:37
Caption: "Breathing: American Sonnets", Credit: Susan Cook
Recently, two Washington Post reporters looked at how human beings are valued in Donald Trump world, now, and as he turned the $200000 his father ...

  • Added: Aug 01, 2015
  • Length: 05:57
Caption: "Breathing: American Sonnets", Credit: Susan Cook
Twenty four hours or so have passed since a portrait of the older Atticus Finch as a bigot, complaining about the integration of “Negroes” into th...

  • Added: Jul 16, 2015
  • Length: 04:07
Caption: "Breathing: American Sonnets", Credit: Susan Cook
In 1948, the United Nations said seeking asylum is a basic right to seek protection from government persecution. In my state, there is now a contro...

  • Added: Jun 24, 2015
  • Length: 04:50
Caption: If they carry that lineage, I don't know..., Credit: Nova Scotia Museum/Susan Cook
I went to an exhibit of Native American basketry recently- made by Maine Penobscots and Passamaquoddies. The reception was as polished as any other...

  • Added: May 25, 2015
  • Length: 05:25
Caption: Contaminating Maine for Corporate Favors, Credit: Susan Cook
Well, in my state the Maine Center for Public Interest Reporting published a lengthy article about a veteran lawmaker who is strongly supporting a ...

  • Added: May 20, 2015
  • Length: 03:23
Caption: "Breathing: American Sonnets", Credit: Susan Cook
Not long before the earthquake in Nepal, I drove by yet another SUV with the bumper sticker “No child left a dime.” Then, as now, I am reminded ag...

  • Added: May 09, 2015
  • Length: 05:55
Caption: "Breathing: American Sonnets", Credit: Susan Cook
Well, in my state we have a remarkable example of corporations having their way with state legislators to pass a bill that- in the long run did not...

  • Added: Apr 22, 2015
  • Length: 05:46
Caption: "Breathing: American Sonnets", Credit: Susan Cook
I read a column in which the author tried to express what I’m guessing is her moral outrage. I am all for expressing moral outrage. At least it pu...

  • Added: Mar 24, 2015
  • Length: 05:38
Caption: Political Gamesmanship's Hostages? Water, Birds, Wildlife  2009 to 2018, Credit: Susan Cook/Google Earth
The Sixty Second Moral Inquiry asks questions about what is right and what is wrong. Today's Sixty Second Moral Inquiry asks what is wrong with pol...

  • Added: Mar 16, 2015
  • Length: 01:19
Piece image
The Supreme Court of the United States has decided that Arizona’s 2000 law which created an Independent Commission to determine Congressional Re-d...

  • Added: Mar 09, 2015
  • Length: 07:04
Caption: 'shipwrecked, lost everything, all's well...", Credit: Edgar Cook
Poems are solace in times of not knowing. Today, a Sonnet for What Will Be Well. "There are events that narrowly avoid crossing our paths, eve...

Bought by KICI Iowa City


  • Added: Apr 01, 2024
  • Length: 01:01
  • Purchases: 1
Caption: "Breathing: American Sonnets", Credit: Susan Cook
Elected officials or politicians aspiring to be elected officials say things that would register on our Hackle o’ meters and our Politically Unfit...

  • Added: Mar 19, 2016
  • Length: 03:19