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: The car would not start at all today., Credit: Susan Cook
"Whoa, the car won't start," our gentle car owner says to himself as he turns the key in the ignition only to hear a soft whimper, whimper, whimper...

  • Added: Jan 24, 2013
  • Length: 03:34
Caption: "Breathing: American Sonnets", Credit: Susan Cook
A solid political party structure broadens the focus of campaigns from the "me' to the "we", the electorate. Me Radio is an example of how that mig...

  • Added: Jan 26, 2013
  • Length: 01:37
Caption: Mr. Murdoch confuses reality with imagination like many babies do., Credit: Susan Cook
We now know that Rupert Murdoch and his "gang" have an ability to grasp the difference between the imaginary and the real similar to that of many ...

  • Added: Jul 09, 2011
  • Length: 02:08
Caption: The economists needed Guides to find these., Credit: Susan Cook
Long ago, a group of Economists went on retreat to fish and talk to journalists, some wearing sweatshirts that read "In Economists Are The Preserv...

  • Added: Aug 19, 2011
  • Length: 03:06
Caption: "Breathing: American Sonnets", Credit: Susan Cook
Acupuncture is an ancient intervention for helping raise "chi"- pronounced "GEE" in English. For those for whom acupuncture treatments have enhanc...

  • Added: Sep 30, 2011
  • Length: 02:54
Caption: "Breathing: American Sonnets", Credit: Susan Cook
David Brooks excels when his vast analytic abilities are brought to his fondness for Republicans. In the New York Times, he ventured into an are...

  • Added: Oct 08, 2011
  • Length: 04:53
Caption: In You-Know-Who's time, Marshmellow questions have changed., Credit: Susan Cook
Delayed gratification has changed. Social science experiments often mirror cultural values and our best learners absorb them well. They do what th...

  • Added: Oct 24, 2011
  • Length: 02:57
Caption: "Breathing: American Sonnets", Credit: Susan Cook
We wade into emotionally shallow waters when we look at the media's recent coverage of the important consequences of the Penn State revelation tha...

  • Added: Nov 19, 2011
  • Length: 02:31
Caption: The Ven diagrams were very confusing. , Credit: Susan Cook
Freedom of Speech began long ago in a tiny town called Fragile Rock when the people finally declared "We are the overlapping section of the Ven dia...

Bought by KVMR


  • Added: Dec 09, 2011
  • Length: 03:40
  • Purchases: 1
Caption: "Breathing: American Sonnets", Credit: Susan Cook
A new collection of observations from E.B. White, the Brooklin, Maine writer, has been culled by his granddaughter, Martha White. He was once d...

  • Added: Dec 14, 2011
  • Length: 03:12
Caption: If they chew it and it is still writhing, continuing to chew is profound., Credit: Susan Cook
As the dust settles from the Iowa Caucuses , it is time to sniff, dig and if necessary chew and swallow pettiness and small-mindedness where found....

  • Added: Jan 05, 2012
  • Length: 01:29
Piece image
This poem to the President of the NRA has no statistics, no logic, no legal reasoning or principle. Only profound grief and sadness..

  • Added: Oct 27, 2023
  • Length: 01:09
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Eleven years after I posted the first commentary for The River is Wide series, this remains true: Speaking and seeking the truth is not cynical.

  • Added: Jan 11, 2011
  • Length: 03:04
Caption: Our elected officials need reminders about what money is actually used for. , Credit: Susan Cook
As our Elected Officials struggle with Debt Ceiling Reduction, perhaps some homework on how my 30 bucks can be better quality than their 2.4 trilli...

  • Added: Jul 26, 2011
  • Length: 03:12
Caption: "Breathing: American Sonnets", Credit: Susan Cook
I hope you’re in the mood for some numbers. Or at least I hope you’re not in the mood for a poem. In Maine, the daily poem we all could feast on fo...

  • Added: May 24, 2016
  • Length: 07:35
Caption: "I don't hate the press, none of them. As a matter of fact, I feel sorry for them.'', Credit: Szep, Boston Globe, July 18, 1974
Maine Public Broadcasting Network has made the perplexing decision to segregate music and poetry to a separate pay-to-hear HD radio service called ...

  • Added: Jun 04, 2016
  • Length: 07:16
Caption: "Breathing: American Sonnets", Credit: Susan Cook
The lessons of D.L. Rosenhan's study of imposters pretending to have psychiatric illness on psychiatric units have not been lost on the world of me...

  • Added: Jun 22, 2016
  • Length: 07:32
Caption: "Breathing: American Sonnets" by Susan Cook, Credit:  Shermans.com, GulfofMaineBooks@gmail.com
From America's Sonnet, "This sonnet's yours America, but you will not take all my loves, turn my Black, brown, blue."

  • Added: Feb 28, 2021
  • Length: :57
Caption: No more Prairie Home Companion ponies to ride, Credit: Susan Cook
I watched the next-to-last Prairie Home Companion live broadcast on my laptop since the show and the 1 and ½ hour encore were live streamed on You-...

  • Added: Jun 27, 2016
  • Length: 05:09
Caption: "Breathing: American Sonnets", Credit: Susan Cook
The real meaning of the Buddhist concept of karma is murky, but the Republican Presidential campaign has become an explanatory sponge for it- fully...

  • Added: Jun 29, 2016
  • Length: 04:49