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
A musical tribute to "My Funny I.T. Guy" . Blackberry phones - like former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton had- used to be considered difficult...

  • Added: Jul 08, 2016
  • Length: 02:08
Caption: "Breathing: American Sonnets", Credit: Susan Cook
The widespread permission in this country to be mean, to arm oneself to be as mean as possible is deeply alarming. The beginning of this permissio...

  • Added: Jul 19, 2016
  • Length: 07:01
Caption: "Breathing: American Sonnets", Credit: Susan Cook
Today's Sixty Second Moral Inquiry asks "What's the Difference Between Politicians Who Refuse to Consider What Politicians in the Other Party say a...

  • Added: Jul 21, 2016
  • Length: 01:02
Caption: Polls don't decide the winner. Voters do. , Credit: Susan Cook
The American voting public has become as gullible about Election polls as they are about quick weight loss plans. In Maine, Election eve, 2010, t...

  • Added: Jul 23, 2016
  • Length: 08:01
Caption: "Breathing: American Sonnets", Credit: Susan Cook
Today’s sixty-second Moral Inquiry asks ‘What’s the difference between verbal abuse, which uses words to hold power over others by intimidating, th...

  • Added: Jul 26, 2016
  • Length: 01:09
Caption: "..annuls the power..." Poem 358 Emily Dickinson , Credit: Not known
As the battle wages on between the unarmed and the armed, the armed and the armed, the open carry armed and the concealed carry armed, the proble...

  • Added: Jul 30, 2016
  • Length: 05:19
Caption: ..knowing who you’ve left behind.., Credit: Susan Cook
In my state, a few years ago a bright, articulate local woman ran for the state House of Representatives. Her campaign slogan was ‘Fight Like A Gi...

  • Added: Aug 01, 2016
  • Length: 05:32
Caption: "Breathing: American Sonnets", Credit: Susan Cook
In Maine, recently, an internationally known annual road race was held . 6338 runners raced. One runner in the group of the first 183 spent a full...

  • Added: Aug 14, 2016
  • Length: 05:01
Caption: "Breathing: American Sonnets", Credit: Susan Cook
When Mitch McConnell and the Republicans snub a duly elected President and the American people who want a Supreme Court nominee to be vetted throug...

  • Added: Sep 02, 2016
  • Length: 07:13
Caption: Nothing says conspiracy theory like a girl..., Credit: Downeast Magazine
Today The River Is Wide introduces a new specialty item : the two and a half minute Conspiracy Theory. We don’t want to ramble. We’ll keep it brief...

  • Added: Sep 08, 2016
  • Length: 03:14
Caption: "Breathing: American Sonnets", Credit: Susan Cook
I went to a performance "designed to raise awareness surrounding gun violence and its victims" the program said. The Colorado-based modern dance c...

Bought by KSFR


  • Added: Sep 11, 2016
  • Length: 07:17
  • Purchases: 1
Caption: "Breathing: American Sonnets", Credit: Susan Cook
This US Presidential campaign has been characterized by a striking absence of empathy. No empathy between candidates and a Social Code that defines...

  • Added: Sep 13, 2016
  • Length: 07:05
Piece image
I’m not sure how one marries the  proprietary "I give the right to life”  to the “I give the right to life free from emotional and physical torment...

  • Added: Sep 17, 2016
  • Length: 06:17
Caption: "Breathing: American Sonnets", Credit: Susan Cook
Here we are just weeks before the 2016 Presidential election and what seems to be on the line- still- is whether or not Hillary Clinton is a truth...

  • Added: Sep 30, 2016
  • Length: 02:40
Caption: "Breathing: American Sonnets", Credit: Susan Cook
Child prodigies need the chance to find themselves- the moment they become ‘spellbound’ because they have found the field their gift has been looki...

  • Added: Oct 02, 2016
  • Length: 07:04
Caption: "Breathing: American Sonnets", Credit: Susan Cook
Today's Sixty-second Moral inquiry brings quotations from the Republican Bible on Adultery which ask 'Why Shouldn't the GOP Presidential Candidate...

  • Added: Oct 05, 2016
  • Length: 01:18
Caption: "Breathing: American Sonnets", Credit: Susan Cook
The then director of the Harvard Eating Disorders program gave a talk to a small group of eating disorder mental health providers in my work town. ...

  • Added: Oct 10, 2016
  • Length: 07:33
Caption: "Breathing: American Sonnets", Credit: Susan Cook
Today’s Sixty Second Moral Inquiry asks when men engage in sexploitation whose responsibility is it to refuse to sanction or accept as ‘just the wa...

  • Added: Oct 13, 2016
  • Length: 01:14
Piece image
The anniversary of the loss of my childhood friend who died from suicide just passed. She, like many women, was sexually abused and never told an...

  • Added: Oct 19, 2016
  • Length: 07:59
Caption: Big screen, little truck..., Credit: Susan Cook
In today's Department of Poetic Justice, we offer a musical tribute to a fictional radio host, Rushton Limbo, who poetically longs for the respite ...

  • Added: Oct 24, 2016
  • Length: 02:53