Here in Saskatchewan, the sky is the focal point of the landscape for at least half of the province, where clouds are the scenery and poker-straight highways lead in perfect one-point perspective to an infinite horizon. The theme of this summer’s issue of Grain, “various names for sky,” is from Sue Croll’s vivid poem about dreams. And the writing in this issue is full of surreal journeys: a family trip to an alligator farm, checking into a psych ward, travelling to a war zone, the sense of alienation and self-discovery when travelling to a foreign country. It is also about surreal beauty--how a new father’s experience is “a spin of ecstasy where there is no stillness.” And artist Anne Brochu Lambert’s landscapes capture the all drama and uncertainty of the times.

Sit back and enjoy. Then go out and look up!

Mari-Lou Rowley
Editor, Grain


Beginning with words to describe a dream 

I can never grasp. A porous flow of images

from a second-floor window. Description

splayed like bare branches pressed to glass.

I mean the sky. I mean the various names

for sky and how those views complete the room.

Remembrance Series, Impermanent, 2019,
Mixed Media on unique archival inkjet print,
Arches paper, 36in x 22in

BEYOND THE GATES [Excerpt] Sandra Whitworth

The key I have in my pocket is the first time Papa asks me to do something dangerous. He says I’m wrong, everything has been dangerous. “Some of the guards may deliver our food, but none will look the other way if they see the notes I pass to you.”

After the key there is nothing for a week, then two. Papa is not at the gate every day, but when he is, it is as though he never asked me to take the key from the doorframe. I pick at flakes of rust on the bars that separate us as he tells me Florence is better and asks about Momma and my sister. When men have died, I am sent to their wives or mothers. “He called for you at the end,” I am to say. It’s a story I stopped believing long ago, but I can see the small comfort it brings. 

Then one day, when I have almost forgotten, he slips me a note and whispers, “Just for you.” No instructions where to place it. My hand aches and the small paper is damp by the time I unclench my fingers and read: ‘Friar’s Way Shed.’ Friar’s Way is a road near our house and I walk the brief length of it before returning home that evening. I see at least four or five sheds in the fading light. Even some of the houses look like a shed. Am I to test the key in all of them? When I see him next, I tilt my head without asking aloud, but Papa’s hooded eyes tell me I must wait.

Innerscapes Etats, 2021, Encaustic collage,mixed media on birch wood panel, 8in x 10in x 34in

WOLF, 1902 | Julie Eliopoulos

Carry the dim lamp and all the rest,
the tray, the brassy brooch, but know the jury
will not side with you.

The wolf is a grabber. The wolf with his dopamine.
The way he looks at you is hypnotic. He plays the herbivore,
conceals a scar on his neck. 

His home is a junkyard, arthropod traffic.
The roses he gives are anemic. Hunters are everywhere,
performing their rites. The wolf is a fireside show

they rush at. You are bitten by nature. Life storms
through you, grieving, gluttonous. 
The abdominal pain quickens.

When you give birth to a wolf, the squalls bring their venom.
The judge is a snuffed candle touching your stained shoulder,
and the jury is a herd. The wolf looks down at woodlot paws. 

The judge’s words are backwoods wild,
boars, bears, coyotes.
Your eyes are arrows. 

Rives Series Impermanent, Mixed media on unique archival inkjet print, Arches paper, 20in x 16in.


David Bowie’s “Young Americans” pours through my earbuds and pools inside my skull as I make my Monday morning trudge to the C-train station. I was so sad when Bowie died. Sad but also happy, because I got to be alive on the earth at the same time as David Bowie, which is really something if you ask me.

My high-tops are glutted with snow by the time I arrive on the platform. As always, I tuck my toes behind the yellow line, and I do my best not to move. Not a muscle. Instead of moving, I think about moving. This is my trick, you see. Instead of stepping forward, I think about stepping forward. My feet lift off, and my arms stretch wide, and the whole universe bends down to hug me. In my head.

Piece E, Innerscapes Etats, 2021, Encaustic collage, mixed media on birch wood panel, 8in x 10in x 34in

SLOW NIGHT | Teya Hollier

A slow night. Two men patrol. One speaks of last night's basketball game; one tosses a crushed Coke can out the window, “KOBE!” One makes jokes about his Nigerian neighbour; one laughs and mimics their accent. One tightens his grip on the steering wheel whining about his child support: Bitch is robbing me. One nods and agrees, offering sympathy in forms of his own frustrations: being penalized by their boss for his temper. Fuck his boss! Fuck his wife! Fuck everybody! Anger rises in the car. They breathe it in, hold it. Let it out, a constant high. They have made no arrests today; they have barely left the car. Just drove smoothly through streets, silent, dark like the night, searching for something, someone to bring in on their ride. Someone to badger. Someone to use their badge to abuse. But it’s a slow night. Too slow of a night. They turn into a dodgy area conjuring excitement. They have mastered this skill. Directing smiles into snares, laughter into violence, hanging out into plotting, dark skin into sin. They drive slow seeking their targets. They switch on the siren as shadows turn to form. One points, one labels: “these fucking animals.” One presses the break and releases his seatbelt; one puts his hand on his strap and opens the door.

Panel 3, Triptych Passages, 2018-2019, Encaustic and mixed media on birch wood panel,
16in x 12in x 2in.

ATOMIC SHADOW [Excerpt] | Jeremy Lanaway

The kitchen is orderly, spill-free, clean, exactly the way she left it, and she feels overwhelmed with gratefulness for small miracles. She pulls out a stool, sits down at the island, and places her head in her hands. Now what? Her question is answered by a succession of metallic clangs rising from the basement. Didn’t she hide the hammer from him last week? The TV screen catches her eye: it’s paused on a black-and-white image of an enormous mushroom cloud billowing into a greyscale sky, beautiful and ungodly and fantastic and grotesque in its role as a destroyer of worlds. Her focus shifts to the couch and the wetness on the cushion where her husband’s diaper has leaked, the rounded outline of his underside, a shadow of dampness to offer evidence of his having been there. 

Innerscapes Etats, 2019, Encaustic collage, mixed media on birch wood panel, 11in x 16in x 1in.

Artist's Statement
Anne Brochu Lambert is a multimedia visual artist based in Regina, Saskatchewan. Her art practice focuses on encaustic painting and collage, while it also incorporates printmaking, digital drawing, photography, and art installations. Her work uses the language of abstraction to explore the landscape motif and our complex relationship to our surroundings.

Originally from Lévis (QC), she has a D.E.C. in Arts et Lettres from CEGEP Lévis-Lauzon, QC. Her studio practice has been enriched through artist residencies and workshops. Notably, she was juried in a 2-year mentorship project with an independent curator, funded by the Canada Council for the Arts (2016-2018). She studied cold wax painting with R. Crowell during a five-weeks stay in Greece (2019).

Her art installation, “Voix et passages,” a multimedia triptych combining a soundtrack activated by movement, received grants from SaskArts and Conseil culturel fransaskois (2020-2021); the artwork was curated into a collective show in Edmonton Alberta (June-August 2021), supported by the Canada Council for the Arts.

Anne Brochu Lambert’s art has been exhibited in solos and juried shows in Canada and the USA. Her works can be found in private and public collections. She is represented by Nouveau Gallery and Grasslands Gallery Online.

Anne Brochu Lambert