Paul Shapshak, PhD commenced writing poetry at age 15 nearing graduation from the High School of Music and Art in New York City. He was a music student, playing piano, violin, and conducting. While in high school, he attended the Henry Street Settlement Music School in New York City as a scholarship student studying violin, chamber music, conducting, and counterpoint. He received a scholarship to attend the Aspen Music Festival. After that, he attended Harvard College (BA), New York University Medical Center Graduate School, and Princeton University Graduate School (PhD) all with scholarships. At Harvard College, he attended an English literature course given by Professor William Alfred. In addition to poetry, his interests are harpsichord, mathematics, physics, Sanskrit, and Hebrew.
His parents were Sir Rene Shapshak, sculptor and painter and Lady Eugenie Palca-Shapshak, pianiste and piano teacher. He and his wife Solveig have three grown children, Mans, Helga, and Dag and grandchildren Madeleine, Sophia, Annika Renee, and Evelyn Rachel.