The study and application of nonlinear optical processes are central to many areas of technology, as well as to our understanding of how atoms and photons interact. Many of the difficulties in studying such processes stem from the fact that the nonlinear coupling between light and matter is typically very weak. Thus, methods for increasing the interaction strength between light and matter are critical for probing and controlling the properties of atoms and photons. Because light tuned close to an atomic resonance interacts strongly with atoms, atomic vapors have long been used as a medium to study nonlinear optical processes. The benefits of this enhancement are mitigated, though, by strong absorption in warm atomic vapors due to Doppler broadening. If, instead, a sample of cold (or nearly stationary) atoms is used, the deleterious effects of absorption can be avoided and fully saturated nonlinearities can be achieved with a weaker optical field, or new phenomena may be realized. Unfortunately, the standard trapping geometry (a spherical magnetooptical trap, or MOT) produces only moderate densities and short interaction lengths (compared to a warm vapor), thus reducing the benefit of employing cold atoms for nonlinear optical studies. I will discuss how an anisotropic, quasi-one-dimensional sample of cold atoms solves many of the problems of a standard spherical trap, and I will describe the trap that I have constructed. After discussing the basic physics behind the anisotropic MOT, I will discuss a nonlinear optical process known as recoil-induced resonance, and explain how this resonance can be used to study slow light in a sample of cold atoms.