Born in 1930 in the village of Zvërnec near Vlorë, he studied economics in Sofia, Bulgaria from 1949 to 1954, then started to work as a journalist in Tirana. He soon made a name for himself as a poet, and went on to work as a researcher for the History and Philology Department of Tirana University. He now lives in Tirana.
Never fearing innovation, despite the cultural isolation of his country, Arapi has been a pioneer of free verse and experimental poetry in 1960s Albanian literature. Born on the seaside, the maritime universe has always inspired his verses, as has Albania's troubled history. He has also written meditative poetry, love poems and elegies, with the eternal questions on life and death as a recurrent theme.