Students take initiative and produce ‘Cake’

Florida A&M University’s English department has brought about a new meaning to the phrase, “Stack that cake!”

There’s a unique and delicious artistic outlet available for all artists. CAKE, a journal of poetry & art, is FAMU’s new literary magazine. 

After noticing a substantial amount of talent in one of her classes, FAMU English professor Kristine Snodgrass and some of her students decided to develop a literary magazine.

“When I realized how amazing my students’ work was in CRW 3311 (Poetic Techniques), I knew I had to offer some kind of venue for them to share it,” Snodgrass said.

With plans in place, one of the first things to be done was determining the magazine’s name. After going through a list of names that were suggested at one of the brainstorming meetings, Dontaye Carter, a student staff member, recommended, “cake.”

Carter, a 20-year-old Orlando native, explained his reasoning for suggesting “cake,” as well as the reason why he thinks the name was so well received.

“I think it just stuck because it’s us – poets on the grind – and because of where it derives from,” said Carter, a junior theater student. “In the North many consider cake to be money, down South we might say he’s caking or trying to sweet talk that chick.”

Snodgrass said she loves the idea of naming the magazine CAKE and thinks it’s good to pick a name that’s trendy and current.  

“Because our journal is going to be online and in print, I felt like we needed a contemporary name,” Snodgrass said. “I loved the idea of using a word that has different meanings both culturally and geographically.”

Snodgrass went on to break down the complexity of the word “cake.”

“It can mean so many different things: money, getting sweet on a girl, and of course, the yummy confection that seems to play such a role in American culture,” Snodgrass said. “I want our lit mag to be the same way, a piece of American culture, Southern or Northern, an African-American voice,” Snodgrass said.  Snodgrass sees the magazine as a way to showcase the talent that FAMU brings to the literary table.  “We have a voice here, and it is important,” she said.

Paul de Revere, 22, a junior newspaper journalism student and CAKE staff member, said he sees CAKE as a positive addition to FAMU’s campus and a way to propagate spoken word in the community.

“I think there’s a big, and still growing, interest in poetry and spoken word on FAMU’s campus – ‘conscious’ stuff, for the lack of a better word,” de Revere said. “Just look how many people show up to Black on Black Rhyme.”

With CAKE’s first issue coming out in February, Snodgrass said she and her staff are doing their best to get the word out about the inaugural issue. 

“As a new lit mag, there are a lot of possibilities for CAKE, and now we are just trying to explore those possibilities and get people to send us their work,” Snodgrass said.

As a staff member, Carter said he is enthused about being involved with the upcoming issue.

“I’m excited to be involved with CAKE because for me it’s a means of expressing myself, a way for me to be heard,” Carter said. “I have a lot to say and writing is my tool of expression.” Snodgrass said feedback has been very positive, and she thinks everyone should support this effort. 

“Students are excited about having a venue for their work and faculty are too,” she said. “It is an exciting time for us.” Submissions of poetry and art can be e-mailed as attachments to