Dennis Scott was born in Kingston, the capital of Jamaica, in 1939. He was educated at Jamaica College, and later at the University of the West Indies, where he received a B.A. in English. a He published his first collection of poetry in 1973. The work, Uncle Time, received critical acclaim and was awarded the Commonwealth Poetry Prize. He published two further books of poetry, in 1982 and 1989. A posthumous collection was released in 2008. Scott won particular praise for writing in the English dialect of his Caribbean heritage. As well as poetry, Scott also wrote several plays.
Talented in multiple fields, Scott found success as an actor, a dancer, a writer, and a teacher. For many years Scott worked in the drama department at Yale University, where he rose to the position of co-chairing the directing program. As well, he acted a recurring role in the famed "Cosby Show" in the later 1980s. Scott died at the premature age of 51 in 1991. He became regarded as an influential figure in modern Caribbean poetry and theater.
After-Image was published in 2008, nearly two decades since Scott's death. It is comprised of manuscripts and poems that the writer was working on before his death, and was compiled by Scott's friend, Mervyn Morris. Much of the subject matter is centered on Scott's musings on death and mortality, and is a moving addition to the legacy of a brilliant and creative figure.