Rose Henbest

so much depends

a red wheel

glazed with rain

beside the white

― William Carlos Williams, “The Red Wheelbarrow”

Tinge is a celebration of colour and connection – an exploration of nuance, searching, and perspective. In “The Red Wheelbarrow,” William Carlos Williams uses colour to paint a concise visual and invite readers inside his poem. The wheelbarrow could be rusted or new, rolling or idle. The chickens, too, could be or be doing any number of things. Williams’ inclusion of colour demonstrates an awareness of setting and mood, without limiting either one. The authors of Tinge do much the same thing, exploring how colour and connection function in different emotional states, life stages, and literature genres.

Colour is red and yellow. It’s pink and purple. Fuchsia. Turquoise. Mint. Butterscotch. It’s grass and sunlight, daisies. Strawberries. Colour is and isn’t grey and black and white. Salt. Snow. Garbage bins.

Colour is connection because colour is seeing – not just noticing, but engaging with our surroundings – an emergence of setting. Chapter One, “Yellow,” contains childhood narratives and impassioned pieces; it holds colour words and colourful worlds. These pieces examine their surroundings and represent them excitedly and exactly. In childhood and in high emotion – vulnerable states – we notice colour because it isn’t crowded out by other clutter. The canvas of the world is laid bare. The confusion of adulthood is absent – for children because it has yet to be created, and in high emotion because the clutter is pushed aside. You are invited to examine the precise visuals of these pieces: see the teacher’s blue scarf in “The Ritalin Playground,” the puddle of white salt in the grandfather’s hand in “Hospital Food.” It is the precision of these pieces – amplified by their use of colour – that denotes connection: to the speaker’s surroundings, to the other characters, and, ultimately, to their emotions.

Colour, like connection, can be ignored or taken for granted. Chapter Two, “Backlit” explores daily life. In these narratives, you must seek colour more actively than in “Yellow.” Our authors present small moments where colour and connection can be identified in the environment, even if it’s not explicit. Colour shows us that it’s ever-present – even if sometimes hard to identify – in the dailiness of daily life. In “Memories” it’s wildflowers, in “Passengers” it’s the icy road – wherever or whatever,  in the active search we learn that we can find colour and connection anywhere.

Expanding the theory of the active search, Chapter Three, “Out,” explores the pieces of Volume IX that require us to dig deeper to unearth colour. These pieces, a mix of academic and creative, examine nuance. They dare to be uncomfortable – to lose connection in order to understand it better. Neither colour nor connection are obvious themes; however, they are present in the authors’ struggle for truth, in their refusal to accept black and white, and in their recognition, if not celebration, of grey. “Breakwater” chronicles a transition from darkness to colour, disconnection to connection. “Faulty Foundations: Modern Foreign Aid Disenfranchisement and the Long Shadow of Modernization Theory” illustrates how theories of Modernization evolve and change. This chapter demonstrates that no matter how certain a concept or reality may seem, another perspective is always possible.

The title of Volume IX is Tinge because colour is a choice – connection is a choice. Colour and connection can be added and taken away. Included or excluded. Colour and connection are not intrusive, not always obvious – yet they focus, blur, and shape our perception and appreciation of the world.


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Tinge Copyright © by Rose Henbest is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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