A Maze of Stars & Spring Water is a collection of poems directly inspired by the poetic forms that emerged after the May Fourth Movement. Specifically, the “mini poem,” which by Bing Xin’s own admission, hadn’t quite existed before she started experimenting with its form. Inspired by Tagore’s Stray Birds, she started gathering her “scattered and fragmentary thoughts,” not originally intended as poetry, but which would eventually become the present collection. The popularity of the poems and the distinction of the form led the genre to become known as the “Bingxin style.”
Bing Xin is the pen name of Xie Wanying (October 5, 1900–February 28, 1999), who was a distinguished writer, translator, poet, and social activist who was active in the May 4th Movement. She is one of China’s most prolific writers of the twentieth century. Her work in both prose and poetry were literary achievements in their time and she was heavily influential to Chinese writers who emerged in the decades that followed.