Series for Susan J. Cook

Caption: "Breathing: American Sonnets", Credit: Susan Cook
339 Pieces

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.