With Andrew Motion stepping down tomorrow as UK poet laureate and Carol Anne Duffy apparently still to decide whether to take up the post, there's perhaps a window to explore the alternatives offered by other countries:
Scotland has a 'makar' (unpaid). The present holder of the title is Edward Morgan, who backs Carol Anne Duffy for the UK laureateship. He recently celebrated his 89th birthday with a cake cut on his behalf by Ron Butlin, Edinburgh's own makar.
Canada has a Parliamentary Poet Laureate. As explained in the Parliament of Canada Act, the Parliamentary Poet Laureate may:
* write poetry, especially for use in Parliament on important occasions;
* sponsor poetry readings;
* advise the Parliamentary Librarian regarding the Library’s collection and acquisitions to enrich its cultural materials; and,
* perform other related duties at the request of the Speaker of the Senate, the Speaker of the House of Commons, or the Parliamentary Librarian.
The term of the Parliamentary Poet Laureate is two years. The current office holder is Pierre DesRuisseaux.
A minority of poets laureate have referenced goats in their poetry, but Tennyson is one such ("Catch the wild goat by the hair").
Andrew Motion's greaest achievement as Poet Laureate was the poetry archive.
Dead and buried laureates here.