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Dennis Scott Biography

(1939–91), An Echo in the Bone, Plays for Today, Uncle Time, Dreadwalk: Poems 1970–78

Literature Reference: American Literature, English Literature, Classics & Modern FictionEncyclopedia of Literature: William Sansom (William Norman Trevor Sansom) Biography to Dr Seuss [Theodor Giesel] Biography

Jamaican poet and playwright, born in Kingston, educated at the University of the West Indies at Mona and the University of Newcastle-upon-Tyne. He was Director of the Jamaica School of Drama, and was Visiting Associate Professor of Playwriting at the Yale School of Drama. His play An Echo in the Bone (1974) was published, together with a play by Derek Walcott and another by Errol Hill, in Plays for Today (1985), edited by Errol Hill. The phrase ‘echo in the bone’ refers to racial memories of oppression, and the play, structured ritualistically around the ‘nine-night’ ceremony preparing the dead for burial, powerfully condenses a particular phase of Jamaican history. The ‘dead man’ in the play is a living fugitive peasant on the run from killing a white estate owner. Scott's poetry tends to be complex and dense with shifting voices, often focusing on the self, and its continual search for emotional and political stability. He was awarded the Common-wealth Poetry Prize for Uncle Time (1973). Among other publications are Dreadwalk: Poems 1970–78 (1982), an edition of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight (1978), and a short play, Terminus (1966).

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