Gilm was born in Innsbruck, Tyrol, Austria and attended school in Feldkirch.
He subsequently read law at Innsbruck University and, in the 1840s, entered the Austrian
civil service to hold office in several localities in the Tyrol. He was selected for
higher training in Vienna and later became regional administrator in Linz.
His poetry is often lyrical and of a sensitive and melancholy nature. Some of his works
were set by Richard Strauss after Gilm's death when his fame was finally acknowledged.
Gilm also wrote works of a critical political nature, however, which, for reasons of caution,
remained unpublished under his own name until after his death. His only acknowledged
collection published during his lifetime was his Tiroler Schutzenleben but several
other collections were published under pseudonyms.