Time was that being Poet Laureate was a job for life - not anymore, as the job is up for grabs again after Andrew Motion's term of office. It seems that both Carol Ann Duffy and Simon Armitage are front runners: and it's a sure bet that neither of them will opt for the imperial bombast that was once obligatory, in the days of Tennyson and the like. (Here's an example of Tennyson at his worst: 'Hail, sea-king's daughter from over the sea! Alexandra!' - and no, I haven't checked the accuracy of this because elder son is up in the study doing a practice Maths paper and I don't want to disturb him.)
Ironically, I've just been analyzing poems from both Armitage and Duffy because my son had his GCSE English Literature paper yesterday (went better than I'd dreaded, thanks) - and I'd be quite happy to see either of these get the post. If you haven't read any of the poems in Duffy's Mean Time or The World's Wife - do. Her poem, Prayer, is one of my favourites (and yes, I know, I know I haven't been doing anything with PoemRelish, the other blog I set up, but I will, probably when the academic year is done and dusted and literary analysis is less of a busman's holiday). Simon Armitage's poetic translation of the medieval Sir Gawain and the Green Knight is superb.
I wasn't aware, by the way, before now, that the Laureateship pays less than £20,000 p.a. I wasn't aware it paid anything at all - er, can I apply?