Ken Letko grew up in Ashland, WI, on Chequamegon Bay of Lake Superior, spending one year in a cabin in the Moquah Valley of Bayfield County after receiving a BS from the University of Wisconsin—Stevens Point. Later he earned both an MA and an MFA from Bowling Green State University in Ohio, where he also taught as a lecturer and served as Editor-in-Chief of the Mid-American Review.
He has taught as a Foreign Expert at the Xian Foreign Languages Institute (now XFL University) in the People's Republic of China. In Xian, he also trained as a juggler with the Shaanxi Acrobatics Troup and wrote a feature story "Za Shua: Juggling in China," which was published by the International Jugglers Association. In China he additionally began collaborating as a translator of Chinese poetry.
Now professor emeritus, he taught at College of the Redwoods, in Crescent City, California, where for years he edited the Kerf and hosted the North Coast Redwoods Writers' Conference.
During summers from 2015 through 2020, he volunteered as a fire lookout on Red Mountain, eighty miles west of Mt. Shasta, 7.5 miles east of where the Klamath River joins the Pacific Ocean.
As a reader, panelist, and workshop leader, he has given presentations in California, Illinois, Minnesota, New York, Ohio, Oregon, Texas, Washington, and Wisconsin. He welcomes inquiries regarding presentations.