LONG ISLAND CITY — A writer remembered by friends for his sense of humor and talent with words will be honored with a poetry prize in his name at Queens College, his alma mater.
Friends and former classmates of Hoyt Jacobs, who was fatally struck by a private sanitation truck while riding his bicycle in Queens earlier this week, are raising money to start an annual prize in his name at the school, where he'd studied poetry and literary translation.
"Hoyt was a great guy, a witty guy — a great writer and great poet and great translator," said friend Jonathan Alexandratos, who studied with Jacobs in Queens College's MFA program.
"It's up to us to make sure that that great work lives on," he said. "We all believe that future poets need to know not just this man's name, but what he did."
Jacobs, a reading and writing tutor at the New York City College of Technology who lived in Bushwick, was killed Saturday as he rode his bicycle in Long Island City, when he was struck by a truck at the intersection of 41st Avenue and Vernon Boulevard.
His death shook the tight-knit Queens College MFA community he'd graduated from, as well as the Oh, Bernice! writers collective, of which he was a member.
"It's such an awful, awful senseless tragedy, it's hard to even kind of wrap your mind around," said Nicole Cooley, a Queens College professor and director of the MFA program there. "I think this is something that is helping our community cope with it, putting this prize together."
The Hoyt Jacobs Poetry Prize Fund had raised more than $3,000 as of Thursday afternoon.
Organizers plan to award the prize annually to a poetry student at Queens College starting this May. The group is hoping to raise as much money as possible to ensure the prize will continue for years to come.
"It would be a way to keep Hoyt's memory alive, to honor him, to honor his family," Cooley said.
She described Jacobs as a "voracious reader," who channeled his personality into his poems.
"He had incredible wit and irony, and his work really showed it," she said. "Really emotionally interesting, really energetic, vital work."
Friends remembered Jacobs as an avid cyclist who loved comic books and was known for his sense of humor. He once showed up at a group get-together with a roasted duck in tow, that he'd cooked himself.
"It was stuff that like that just made him this kind of joy to hang out with," Alexandratos said. "When Hoyt calls you up to tell you to go somewhere, [you] go there, because it's going to be a fun time."
Friend John Rice, who runs the Oh, Bernice! reading series, remembered Jacobs as funny and warm.
"Hoyt was a really kind of charming, unique person," he said.
Oh, Bernice! is planning to hold a memorial reading in the coming weeks — an exact date will be announced soon on its website — where they will read and share Jacobs' work.
"I've been reading a couple of his poems over the last couple of days. They're beautiful," Rice said. "I think the world is missing out on a lot by not having Hoyt's voice continuing to write."
To make a donation to the Hoyt Jacobs Poetry Prize Fund, visit the GoFundMe page here.