Francis Timothy Dlugos was born in Springfield, Massachusetts, on August 5, 1950, and later grew up in Arlington, Virginia. He joined the Christian Brothers, a Catholic lay order of religious men who took vows of chastity, poverty, and obedience, in 1968 and entered their college, LaSalle, in Philadelphia. He abandoned the Brothers in 1971 to openly embrace a politically active gay life and eventually left LaSalle College before graduating. He began publishing his poems in the early 1970s while living in Washington, D.C., where he worked on Ralph Nader’s Public Citizen and became heavily involved with the Mass Transit poetry scene. His work was included in Winston Leyland’s Angels of the Lyre: A Gay Poetry Anthology in 1975, published by Panjandrum Press.
In 1976, Dlugos relocated to New York City and soon established himself as a prominent younger poet in the downtown poetry scene. He edited and contributed to such magazines as Christopher Street, New York Native, and St. Mark’s Poetry Project Newsletter. With Dennis Cooper, Dlugos coedited Coming Attractions: An Anthology of American Poets in Their Twenties, which Cooper’s Little Caesar Press published in 1980. Cooper also published two of Dlugos’s books, the chapbook Je Suis Ein Americano in 1979 and the full-length collection Entre Nous in 1982. Throughout the 1980s, Dlugos published his poems in numerous magazines and anthologies, among them The Paris Review, BOMB, Washington Review, The Son of the Male Muse: New Gay Male Poetry (published by The Crossing Press in 1983), and Poets for Life: Seventy-six Poets Respond to AIDS (published by Crown Publishers in 1989).
Sometime after being diagnosed HIV positive, Dlugos decided to abandon his career as a fund-raiser to study for the Episcopalian priesthood, in which he felt