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
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Exclusion by the Media of facts about the nature of the exploitation at the center of the Trump trial, and the $130,000 paid to an adult film actr...

  • Added: May 23, 2024
  • Length: 08:21
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The possibility that we can all take part in finding out what is true, just by speaking up, can become very uncertain and maybe one day disappear b...

Bought by PRX Remix


  • Added: May 03, 2024
  • Length: 05:23
  • Purchases: 1
Caption: ... the story that belongs to everyone at some time in life- the times when crossing the river is very very difficult to do, no matter how big the boat., Credit: Susan Cook
We've been humming the tune from Rodgers and Hammerstein's "State Fair", again! "It's a Grand Night for Bailing, Updated! The Evangelical version" ...

  • Added: Apr 30, 2024
  • Length: 02:39
Caption: "Breathing: American Sonnets", Credit: Susan Cook
The town of Brunswick, Maine is set to remove 2/3 of the trees on Maine Street because it is too expensive to work around them as they install new ...

Bought by KICI Iowa City


  • Added: Apr 19, 2024
  • Length: 01:49
  • Purchases: 1
Caption: "Breathing: American Sonnets", Credit: Susan Cook
We know too much of the sequence of the aftermath of a Mass Shooting Sequence.

Bought by KICI Iowa City


  • Added: Feb 15, 2024
  • Length: 02:46
  • Purchases: 1
Caption: "Breathing: American Sonnets", Credit: Susan Cook
What leads people to take what is not theirs to take? Or give what is not theirs to give or for that matter, withhold from others? These are questi...

  • Added: Jan 26, 2024
  • Length: 04:59
Caption: "Breathing: American Sonnets", Credit: Susan Cook
A Registered Maine Guide I know searched for a wounded deer - wounded but not felled- he still seeking to do good for evil - as it is perceived by ...

  • Added: Jan 20, 2024
  • Length: 04:50
Caption: "When loss and innocence...", Credit: Susan Cook
Three poems of loss, courage and resilience for these times.

  • Added: Nov 08, 2023
  • Length: 03:05
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The arrest of a Fifth Avenue architect as the alleged serial murderer of several women brings up the question of whether anyone over that long peri...

Bought by RadioFreePalmer


  • Added: Jul 21, 2023
  • Length: 08:36
  • Purchases: 1
Caption: Forget-me-knots in bloom..., Credit: Susan Cook
From the Spring 2023 Maine Arts Journal. A poem on the intricacies of grieving.

  • Added: May 18, 2023
  • Length: :59
Caption: "We are watching the edge of the world, held by a vision, the persistence of breath...", Credit: Susan Cook
"When Loss and Innocence", "What Courage Wears to Bed", "The Meaning of Life". Poems from the author of "Breathing: American Sonnets"

Bought by KICI Iowa City


  • Added: Apr 01, 2024
  • Length: 03:12
  • Purchases: 1
Caption: From a buddhist center "...the cellular call, compassion..., Credit: Susan Cook
During National Poetry Month, an American Sonnet to bring us to know better the women journalists of Ukraine.

Bought by KICI Iowa City and RadioFreePalmer


  • Added: Apr 06, 2023
  • Length: 01:17
  • Purchases: 2
Caption: "...to a wider grasp...", Credit: Susan J Cook
Poetry best helps us grasp the Quantum Mechanics topic of the latest Nobel Prize in Physics.

Bought by KICI Iowa City


  • Added: Dec 09, 2023
  • Length: 01:03
  • Purchases: 1
Caption: ..And somewhere a Bird Who Is Bound he'll be heard is giving his lawyer a call,,,,.., Credit: Susan Cook
In The Department of Poetic Justice (with lyrics for The Great American Wrongbook ) , remembering another moment of ex, um disclosure!

  • Added: Apr 16, 2024
  • Length: 02:42
Caption: At the 1996 Dem National Convention, at the beginning of the Platform debate, women protested for the right to choose..., Credit: New York Times, August 28, 1996
As 6 Supreme Court Justices end Roe v. Wade, shaming and humiliating Pro-Choice advocates becomes the anti-choice strategy.

  • Added: May 21, 2022
  • Length: 06:13
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In these times, a poem for the places we find resilience.

Bought by KICI Iowa City


  • Added: Mar 11, 2022
  • Length: :56
  • Purchases: 1
Caption: "Breathing: American Sonnets", Credit: Susan Cook
This year, even with its dashed hopes and fear of "deja vu all over again" an abundance of good prevailed.

  • Added: Dec 30, 2021
  • Length: 03:45
Caption: ...finding moral ground..., Credit: Susan J. Cook
Moral Development thinkers of the 1960's and 70's helped make sense of those polarized times. The "moral" twist of these times is often reduced to ...

  • Added: Aug 05, 2019
  • Length: 07:35
Caption: Gravel pits fall under Maine mining regulations
Winning is the short view of Political gamesmanship.Fake news creation is part and parcel of it. Environmental contamination is the long view when ...

  • Added: Feb 10, 2014
  • Length: 07:50
Caption: Who is it- really?, Credit: Susan Cook
Thank Former Congressman Weiner for reminding us of what civilization loses when we pretend to be someone that we are not- online or in life.

  • Added: Jun 20, 2011
  • Length: 01:36