When the young Allen Ginsberg (ably played by James Franco) reads this line from the "Moloch" section of "Howl" in the smoke-filled Six Gallery in San Francisco (on October 7, 1955), the guys in the front row, including Neal Cassady, "secret hero of these poems, cocksman and Adonis of Denver", break into laughter. The whole boatload of sensitive bullshit: they know, and Allen knows, that "Howl", far from being the romantic cry of the heart or grand political jeremiad it is often presumed to be, is in fact a brilliantly absurdist poem, whose complex baroque structure teeters between high seriousness and wry self-mockery, hallucinatory fervour and comic deflation.
So the beginning of Marjorie Perloff's exceptionally interesting review in the February 18, 2011, issue of the Times Literary Supplement. I would provide a link but it would only work for subscribers. Still, anyone interested in the movie, the poem, the poet, or the times (his then, ours now) will be rewarded by the trek to any library with a copy.