but I mostly feel like that's because it's misinterpreted in the way I detailed previously. It has this reputation of being inspiring and life-affirming, which it really isn't. Okay, maybe it was in 1957. Anyway, it was groundbreaking, important and influential but again, I think its influence was mostly negative. Still worth reading IMO but I wouldn't call it essential.
Never read any of Kerouac's poetry but by most accounts, it's pretty bad. Aside from Ferlinghetti and Ginsberg, Bob Kaufman is the main beat poet worth checking out IMO, though Leroi Jones, David Meltzer, Elise Cowen and Diane DiPrima have some decent stuff as well. The others mostly just bore me.