An Egyptian-born, American-raised Korean War veteran,
Omar Shapli dropped out of the University of Chicago after falling in with the theatre folk who eventually founded
Second City (of which he was a working member in the 1960s). He has written, directed, and acted in numerous plays
in Chicago and New York, creating a principal role in Mac Wellman’s Crowbar and, more recently, appearing as Polonius
in Richard Schechner’s production of Hamlet.
While teaching his craft at NYU, CCNY, Williams, Emerson, and Dartmouth,
he has attempted to preserve his sanity by writing poetry, some of which has appeared in Exquisite Corpse, Café Review,
Main Street Rag, New Orleans Review, and Small Pond, to name a few. Omar Shapli passed away on December 29, 2010. He is survived by his wife, dancer-choreographer Tryntje
Shapli, and three sons.
"I've always through these 40 yearshere and farawaythought Omar Shapli was a serious yet dryly witty poet. I'll not compare him to others who may come to mind; it would not do him justice. He is an originaland of now. I shall now have a drink and toast Omar Shapli: poet."
Links to audio of Omar reading his work: