Whigham was born in Oxford, where he was largely self-educated. He worked as a gardener, a school teacher, an actor, a newspaper reporter, and a script writer. He was the grandson of General Sir Robert Whigham
In the early 1960s he moved to Italy to devote himself entirely to writing.
In 1968–69 he was a guest lecturer in poetry at the University of California, Santa Barbara, as was Basil Bunting, Fred Turner, and Kenneth Rexroth. His seminar classes were popular among undergraduates new to the experience of living, modern poetry. In the mid-1970s he taught a graduate poetry seminar in the Comparative Literature Department at the University of California, Berkeley.
- The Poems of Catullus, note on author
- Obituary in the New York Times