Ken Szymanski


Ken Szymanski lives in Eau Claire’s Third Ward neighborhood, with his wife and two sons. He attempts to live in the present, but the 1980s have always exerted a strong gravitational pull on his writing. He tries to fight it, but it’s no use sometimes.

Content By This Contributor:

Fri. Sep. 20th, 2019

Long Beds on the Long Road

Ken Szymanski, photos by Lee Butterworth

for Perry, writing lyrics brings him close to his first literary love: poetry

Wed. Aug. 21st, 2019

Summertime Souvenirs

Ken Szymanski, illustrated by Taylor McCumber

the gold we find on summer vacation

Wed. Oct. 18th, 2017

The Star Wars Guy

Ken Szymanski

Episodes from the life of a lifelong fan who embraced his inner Vader

Fri. Apr. 7th, 2017

Chasing Tail Lights

Ken Szymanski

when I was in fifth grade, my brother’s muscle car was the coolest ride in town

Mon. Nov. 21st, 2016

DeLong Middle School Art Fair Highlights Adolescent Creativity

Ken Szymanski, photos by Andrea Paulseth

People wouldn’t normally associate middle schools with community art centers. But why not? They have the space, the supplies, and boundless creative energy. On October 15, DeLong Middle School’s A Knight’s Faire showed how student entrepreneurs, professional artists ...

Thu. Oct. 20th, 2016

Lights Out

Ken Szymanski

there is nothing to fear but …

Tue. Apr. 5th, 2016

A Huge Chunk of the Audience

Ken Szymanski, illustrated by Serena Wagner

house show a reminder that life on the road is a challenge

Thu. Dec. 10th, 2015

Crunch Time: The Packers – and some of their fans – need a little healing

Ken Szymanski, design by Serena Wagner

An hour before the Packers-Vikings game a couple weeks ago, carrying a load of laundry, I slip and take a loud and nasty fall down our basement stairs. Groaning and crawling around at the bottom, I hold my shoulder, my forearm, my wrist. My wife Sarah comes rushing down in a panic: “Do you think you broke anything?” ...

Wed. Dec. 9th, 2015

Turning Sap to Syrup

Ken Szymanski

Katsura expertly whittles experiences down to words

Thu. Sep. 10th, 2015

"Did you take the pants?" The school administrator as unsung hero

Ken Szymanski

I sit in the boys locker room at Delong Junior High. It’s 1983. The assistant principal has arrived to investigate a crime. Out of the 50 boys in the room, one is guilty. Someone stole a boy’s pants, and none of us are leaving the locker room until he gets them back. Everyone is nervous and already late for the next class.

Tue. Jul. 7th, 2015


Ken Szymanski

musicians who find success elsewhere still keep their hearts here

Fri. May. 29th, 2015

This One Is Special

Ken Szymanski

Like an old photograph, the events took time to develop. I was an undergraduate working as an usher at yet another 1990s UW-Eau Claire commencement ceremony. The jobs were standard: Don’t let anyone use this door, keep this aisle clear, don’t let people congregate here, etc. But before the ceremony started, they called an audible. The photographer’s assistant was sick. They asked me to take his place ...

Tue. Feb. 17th, 2015

'Writers Read' Event Puts Local Teen Writing in the Open Mic Spotlight

Ken Szymanski

Every month, The Writers Read series graces the L.E. Phillips Memorial Public Library with monthly readings by established local authors with polished deliveries ... but not this time. This month’s reading (March 9, 7pm) is an open mic for grades ...

Wed. Sep. 17th, 2014

Midwestern Heart

Ken Szymanski, photos by Andrea Paulseth

Hildebrand essays explore truth in everyday life

Tue. Aug. 19th, 2014

Stop the Ride

Ken Szymanski, illustrated by Serena Wagner

what doesn’t kill you makes you queasy

Tue. Dec. 3rd, 2013

Building the Song

Ken Szymanski, photos by Andrea Paulseth

old tunes find new life with help of basement studio

A Father, His Son, and a Cruel Summer at Carson Park

Wed. Sep. 4th, 2013

Volume One writer Ken Szymanski believes that every sports season is a story, and every player is a character. Over the summer of 2013, he heard about an Eau Claire Express player with an unusual background. The player's host family suggested ...

Wed. Aug. 14th, 2013

Behind the Music Articles

Ken Szymanski, illustrated by Luke Benson

you know what they say – those who can’t be in a band ... write about it

Wed. Apr. 10th, 2013

Twisted Tales

Ken Szymanski, photos by Andrea Paulseth

stories explore adolescense, other bizarre happenings

Thu. Nov. 15th, 2012

The Sound of Words

Ken Szymanski, photos by Andrea Paulseth

Jack Bushnell releases fourth children’s book

Thu. Sep. 6th, 2012

Painting Forward

Ken Szymanski, photos by Andrea Paulseth

Stephen Katrosits readies new work for exhibit

Tue. Aug. 7th, 2012

The Factory

Ken Szymanski, photos by Andrea Paulseth

former Uniroyal employee completes eighth book on bygone tire plant

Tue. Jul. 10th, 2012

Blazing Pages

Ken Szymanski, photos by Andrea Paulseth

newest book in mystery series focuses on fire

The Daily Shakedown

Thu. May. 3rd, 2012

Laarks set to release new album, video

Ken Szymanski, photos by Zach Oliphant

It’s been over two years since local indie band Laarks released An Exaltation Of Laarks. Now with a new CD – Fiat Lux – completely recorded and mixed, the band is shopping for a new label and hoping to have the CD available this summer ...

Wed. Apr. 18th, 2012

A State of Flux

Ken Szymanski, photos by Andrea Paulseth

exploring Jason Splichal’s fifth book of poetry, Flux

Tue. Nov. 22nd, 2011

It's Prime Time

Ken Szymanski, illustrated by Catlin Felix Kramka

dysfunctional owner in search of functional television

Tue. Sep. 13th, 2011

The New Megafaun

Ken Szymanski

former locals’ new album may be their big break

Mon. Jul. 18th, 2011

Last Call

Ken Szymanski

as the final Harry Potter train leaves the station, not everyone is on board

Thu. Mar. 3rd, 2011

Union Made

Ken Szymanski, illustrated by Garrett Brunker

Growing up with Schlitz-drinking, Lazy @#$%, Trailer Trash, Redneck Communists

Thu. Feb. 3rd, 2011

Finding Our Way

Ken Szymanski, illustrated by Garrett Brunker

Northern Wisconsin adventure tests faith

Thu. Jun. 25th, 2009

Crime Season

Ken Szymanski, photos by Andrea Paulseth

Jon Loomis releases next installment of crime fiction

Thu. Dec. 4th, 2008

Anywhere from Here

Ken Szymanski, photos by Drew Kaiser

Bon Iver's Justin Vernon is championing the Chippewa Valley with every climbing step.

Thu. Sep. 11th, 2008

Free Fallin'

Ken Szymanski, illustrated by Ryan Carpentier

with serious seasons ahead, one last look at summer foolishness

Thu. Jul. 31st, 2008


Ken Szymanski, illustrated by Ryan Carpentier

why love or hate the Twin Cities when you can do both?

Thu. Mar. 27th, 2008

Festival Fusion

Ken Szymanski

personal invitations go a long way in discovering jazz