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
The River Is Wide today offers a musical tribute to the 2016 Republican primaries to the tune of "Tonight" from the Broadway musical "West Side Sto...

  • Added: Mar 09, 2016
  • Length: 01:22
Caption:  Time to Practice Your Odds for the Derby and Presidents, Credit: Susan Cook
I was reading the New York Times article about the last batch of the 30000 emails released that Hillary Clinton received on her private server- wh...

  • Added: Mar 04, 2016
  • Length: 05:17
Caption: "Breathing: American Sonnets", Credit: Susan Cook
Today's Sixty Second Moral Inquiry asks 'Since Apple claims they refuse the order to open the San Bernadino murderer's I-phone to respect the ...

  • Added: Feb 25, 2016
  • Length: 01:14
Caption: The worldview of fifteen year olds is often very very small. , Credit: Susan Cook
So we now know that Apple has made the extraordinary contribution called ‘Enter the wrong password 10 times and all the data on your way-too-expens...

  • Added: Feb 19, 2016
  • Length: 05:07
Caption: "Breathing: American Sonnets", Credit: Susan Cook
Riding on the train to the Democratic National Convention one year, I had the good fortune to talk with a former president of N.O.W. For young twen...

  • Added: Feb 10, 2016
  • Length: 05:03
Caption: "Breathing: American Sonnets", Credit: Susan Cook
Today’s Sixty Second Moral Inquiry asks :As politicians one-up each other, what’s the difference between the candidate as demagogue- who openly app...

  • Added: Feb 04, 2016
  • Length: 01:21
Caption: Nobis Deus...he likes it.., Credit: Susan Cook
In Today's Department of Poetic Justice (and The Great American Wrongbook), "Donald J. Trump- The Evangelical Version" which could be sung to the ...

  • Added: Jan 28, 2016
  • Length: 02:59
Caption: "Breathing: American Sonnets", Credit: Susan Cook
From the Department of Poetic Justice, here at The River Is Wide , we offer an original composition, titled 'LIMBO'. There is such confusion and f...

  • Added: Apr 02, 2016
  • Length: 03:25
Caption: "Breathing: American Sonnets", Credit: Susan Cook
In my state, this week, leaping off the lower right hand corner of the Front Page of the state’s largest newspaper was this “Educator who won one...

  • Added: Apr 09, 2016
  • Length: 05:42
Caption: "Breathing: American Sonnets", Credit: Susan Cook
Back in 2005, Dana Connors, Maine State Chamber of Commerce president said, "This is not the time or place to expand Maine care coverage to more u...

  • Added: Apr 24, 2016
  • Length: 07:02
Caption: "Breathing: American Sonnets", Credit: Susan Cook
Human Growth and Development textbooks may be the ‘go to’ reference to explain ‘what the hell is going on’ as the new Republican opponent appar...

  • Added: May 04, 2016
  • Length: 04:52
Caption: "Breathing: American Sonnets", Credit: Susan Cook
In a Presidential primary that taxes our belief that the purpose of government is to benefit our lives, I remember legislation that Hillary Clinton...

  • Added: May 13, 2016
  • Length: 03:14
Caption: "Breathing: American Sonnets", Credit: Susan Cook
A Town Clerk in Kentucky has refused to give out a marriage license to a gay couple, risking jail time, because the two of them marrying “does not...

  • Added: Sep 06, 2015
  • Length: 04:13
Caption: "Breathing: American Sonnets", Credit: Susan Cook
In my state the Governor has decided that any childless adult who owns more than $5000 in cash or leisure vehicle assets cannot receive food stamps...

  • Added: Sep 24, 2015
  • Length: 04:32
Caption: "Breathing: American Sonnets", Credit: Susan Cook
The American Civil Liberties Union has filed a lawsuit against two psychologists who developed a program to pair torture with interrogation of “s...

Bought by KBCS 91.3 FM Community Radio


  • Added: Oct 18, 2015
  • Length: 04:10
  • Purchases: 1
Caption: What Clean Elections Won't Clean, Credit: Susan Cook
Clean elections protect constituent rights so wealthy individuals or self-serving personal interests or six-figure job candidates don’t exploit the...

  • Added: Oct 31, 2015
  • Length: 05:44
Caption: Handing off..., Credit: Susan Cook
Over 100 people have died from heroin and fentanyl-laced drug overdoses this year, in Maine. Maine’s governor says he will call in the National Gua...

  • Added: Nov 21, 2015
  • Length: 04:47
Caption: To an itsy bitsy spider...., Credit: Susan Cook
In the Department of Poetic Justice (and Reckoning), The River Is Wide offers a poem that could be sung to the tune from a tune in the public domai...

  • Added: Nov 28, 2015
  • Length: 02:50
Caption: "Breathing: American Sonnets", Credit: Susan Cook
This civil liberty loving country listens with astonishment to Donald Trump, ignore religious freedom and propose that no Muslims be allowed into t...

  • Added: Dec 08, 2015
  • Length: 01:22
Caption: "Breathing: American Sonnets", Credit: Susan Cook
All happy families are alike, each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way, Tolstoi wrote as the first sentence in Anna Karenina. The epitaph he c...

  • Added: Dec 15, 2015
  • Length: 04:45