Scott was one of the most significant poets writing in the early post-independence period in Jamaica, and his first published collection, Uncle Time (1973), for which he won the Commonwealth Poetry Prize, is marked by an effective literary use of the vernacular, or "nation language". He has been regarded as one of the main influences for modern Jamaican poetry. His other poetry collections are Dreadwalk: Poems 1970–78 (1982), Strategies (1989) and After-Image (2008).
His plays include Terminus (1966), Dog, and An Echo in the Bone (1974); the latter was published, together with a play by Derek Walcott and one by Errol Hill, in Plays for Today (1985), edited by Hill. Scott's dramatic work is acknowledged as a major influence on the direction of Caribbean theatre.