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GAVRILA ROMANOVICH DERZHAVIN (1743-1816) was one of the greatest Russian poets of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. He is best known for his odes, written in the classic style, yet he never shied from stepping outside the realm of “high” poetry, employing what were, for his time, unexpected words and forms. One of the legends of Russian culture is that Derzhavin visited Tsarskoye Selo lyceum for exams, where he heard the 16-year-old Alexander Pushkin declaim his poems. He was so astounded that he predicted Pushkin to be Russia’s literary future.