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 violin, piano, 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, music history, harmony, and counterpoint. In addition, he received full summer scholarships to attend the Rhodes School to study mathematics and then the Aspen Music Summer 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, he studies mathematics.
His parents were Sir Rene Shapshak, sculptor, painter, and teacher and Lady Eugenie Palca-Shapshak, pianiste and teacher. He and his wife Solveig have three grown children, Mans, Helga, and Dag and grandchildren Madeleine, Sophia, Annika Renee, and Evelyn Rachel.