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Independent Minds

New Poetry by HMP Kilmarnock

Kevin Williamson (ed.)


The political and civil criticism found in the poetry of Robert Burns has influenced readers for over two centuries. The emotional impact reached high levels when the poems were read by people who have lost their liberty, prisoners in HMP Kilmarnock.

From the city which gave birth to Burns’ first poetry volume, a workshop within prison led to new inspired creations according to different personal backgrounds. Independence in these new poems is desired not only for Scotland, but also for contemporary slaves, war victims and immigrants. On a personal level, independence from substances and mental illness is also at stake; because the worst enemy often fought against, is our own self.

This collection includes the original sources of inspiration, beloved poems by Burns. Among them, To a Mouse, A Man’s A Man for A’ That, and Tree of Liberty. The poems are accompanied by images of Burns’ manuscripts and paintings from the Robert Burns Birthplace Museum.

A moving and impressive collection from independent minds being nostalgic about the carefree past or wondering whether liberty was ever acquired.

Independent Minds