Ernesto Trejo was born in 1950 in Fresnillo, a small mining town in central Mexico, his family later moving to Mexico City and then to Mexicali where he grew up. In 1967, he moved to Fresno, CA to work at his aunt’s restaurant and to attend CSU Fresno State and take an M.A. in economics. But in 1969 a friendship with Luis Omar Salinas turned his interest to poetry and he took writing classes with Philip Levine, Peter Everwine, Robert Mezey and C.G. Hanzlicek. Among many poets he worked with and befriended were Gary Soto, David St. John, and Jon Veinberg. In 1973 Ernesto’s poems began to appear in literary magazines such as Kayak, Partisan Review, and The Nation. In 1975 a selection of his poems in English appeared in Entrance: Four Chicano Poets. He was accepted to the Iowa Writers Workshop and also worked in the International Translation Program there.
In 1976 he published The Rule of Three, a book of eleven poems translated from the Spanish of Tristan Solarte. In 1977 he published a chapbook in English, The Day of Vendors, with a small press in Fresno, Calavera Press, and a chapbook of poems in Spanish, Instrucciones y senales. In 1978. A second chapbook in Spanish, Los nombrespropios, was published.