La verdad y la poesía/Truth and Poetry is a unique artist book, which includes three poems written by Pablo Neruda with seven original drawings by Manuel Neri. The poem Arte poética (The Art of Poetry) was first published in 1933 by Nascimiento, Santiago, Chile, in Residencia en la tierra I, and was included in the book Neruda and Vallejo: Selected Poems, edited by Robert Bly and published in 1971 by Beacon Press, Boston, with translation into English by Robert Bly. The poems La verdad (Truth) and La poesía (Poetry) were first published in 1964 by Editorial Losada, Buenos Aires, in Neruda’s collection Memorial de Isla Negra. The poems were included in the bilingual edition Isla Negra: A Notebook issued by Farrar, Straus and Giroux in 1981, with translation into English by Alastair Reid. The drawings were created in 1981 and were selected by Manuel Neri to accompany the poems for this book. The drawings were done in oil-pastel, charcoal, water-based pigments, and graphite on paper and were originally in the artist’s sketchbook titled Shunga. The Introduction was written in English by Mary Julia Klimenko and translated into Spanish by Jaime Moreno Villarreal. The calligraphy of the text and page designs were created and executed by Thomas Ingmire on Rives BFK white paper.
The binding structure for the book was developed by Daniel E. Kelm. The binding incorporates a method of sewing that traps the spine fold of each signature between double raised cords and an interior stainless steel wire. The goatskin leather binding, with unique leather onlay, hand-tooling and stamping in gold and palladium leaf was designed and produced by Daniel E. Kelm, Kylin Lee, and the mechanics at the Wide Awake Garage in Easthampton, Massachusetts. The book is enclosed in a cloth-covered clamshell box with leather label, also produced at the Wide Awake Garage.